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Cabanlas addresses doubts on new Rio Verde application resolution

“THERE is no law prohibiting the approval of another supplier to engage in the retail supply to the water consumers of Cagayan de Oro, and the participation of the City Council is only to issue a no objection resolution.”


Thus, said Majority Floor Leader Edgar S. Cabanlas during the 76th Regular Session of the 20th City Council after some members of the city’s legislature expressed apprehension and raised questions on the amendment of a previously approved resolution (Resolution No.14895-2024) allowing Rio Verde Water Consortium Inc. to provide level III water supply to all barangays in the city.


CdeO City Councilor Edgar S. Cabanlas

In his letter addressed to City Mayor Klarex Uy, City Legal Officer Atty. Kenneth Tamala recommended for the removal of the clause detailing the pricing scheme pegged at “₱15.00 per cubic meter for the first three years, with a potential increase to not more than ₱16.00 per cubic meter from the fourth to fifteenth year of operations”.


This, according to the City Legal Office, is necessary because the National Water Resources Board (NWRD) reserves all the rights to prescribe and approve water rates and not the city council.

Councilor Cabanlas urged his fellow not to digress the business at hand which was to approve the amendatory no objection resolution.


A QUESTION OF INTEGRITY

Councilor Imee Moreno, however, challenged the proposal, citing the questionable track record of Rio Verde’s irregularities based on the findings of the Commission on Audit. Allowing Rio Verde for the third time means approving the application of the very same company, which was proven to be fraudulent in the past, she added.


CERTITUDE OVER PROMISES

In his manifestation, Councilor Agapito Suan called it ‘risky’ to put trust in words alone taking the promise of Rio Verde to follow the price agreement should it be allowed. According to him, ‘it is better to be certain than hopeful’ especially when tackling grave issues as the city’s recurring water crisis.


POSITION OF THE TASK FORCE

In response, Councilor Cabanlas conservatively divulged that the special task force created by City Mayor Uy has already made its findings, which include the analyses of the contracts among COBI, COWD, and Rio Verde, and the recommendations which are yet to be made available. The City Council approved by majority (14 members) the amendatory resolution while three voted against.

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