Judith asks COWD to halt water fee hike
“WALA ta’y power pero wala nagpasabot nga kita, isip konseho ug representante sa katawhan, nga dili magpaabot sa sentimyento na sa pagkakaron naghangyo sa water district nga dili lang sa nato ipataw ang umento sa singil sa tubig kay maminaw sa kita sa katawhan ug kana dili kita masayop.”
Thus, urged Councilor James K. Judith II relative to the water rate increase proposed by the Cagayan de Oro City Water District (COWD) during the regular session presided by Vice Mayor Bebot Rodriguez.
Engr. Antonio Young, COWD General Manager, presented the water district’s Comprehensive 10-Year Development Plan, which include increasing the water rates by 60% in three-year tranches. Young cited that the last water rate increase was in 2011 and that, with inflation continuing until 2023, the adjustment is critical for COWD’s continued operations.
However, due to some minor problems, the official said that the 2011 first tranche increase was implemented only in 2015.
“(So) when we requested LWUA (Local Water Utilities Administration) to implement the succeeding tranches, nag prescribe na ang period kay ang validity was only five years so the remaining tranches can no longer be implemented. So LWUA said that we should go back to square one which is to conduct public hearing and submit all the documentary requirements for approval by LWUA and COWD BODs for implementation. Every year there will be a board resolution approving the first, second or third tranche of the proposed water tariff,” he further explained.
With the proposed 40% increase on the first year, Judith said it will be significantly higher than some water service providers in other cities.
According to data, the minimum charges per cubic meter of Butuan City is P208.85 only; P210 for Zamboanga City; P233 for Cebu City, with a scheduled increase in July 2024 of P267; P289 for Iloilo City; 214.75 for Bacolod City; and P178.50 for Davao City, Judith explained.
Given that the City Council's concurrence is not required for the approval of water rates, COWD decided to present the proposal as a courtesy before proceeding to public hearing.
In view of this and as suggested by Majority Floor Leader Councilor Edgar S. Cabanlas, the City Council adopted a resolution requesting the COWD to defer action on its water rate hike plan.