Daluz airs challenge to business group

·2 min read

METROPOLITAN Cebu Water District (MCWD) chairman Jose Daluz challenged Tuesday, June 8, 2021 the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) to submit its own proposal in addressing Cebu’s water shortage instead of criticizing MCWD’s plans.

CCCI has made public a position paper, signed by its president Felix Taguiam, expressing opposition to a planned water price increase.

“The increase has yet to happen and besides, what is the proposal of the chamber in addressing the water crisis? Instead of helping address it, maybe they will have their own ideas, not to criticize our plans. This plan of MCWD is a very good plan,” Daluz said.

Daluz clarified the water rate increase will happen in 2024 yet and not this year.

‘Insensitive, unconscionable’

CCCI earlier pointed out that with the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses, especially the micro, small and medium enterprises, are already burdened by increased operating costs.

“At a time when the country and the Cebuanos are reeling from one of the worst pandemic-induced recessions, a price increase on indisputably the most important commodity on earth –water, is insensitive, imprudent, unconscionable and irresponsible,” said Taguiam.

“All the more, the proposed price increase of P300 for every 10 cubic meters of water is glaring, exorbitant and preposterous–even if backed up by plans to invest in desalination,” Taguiam said.

In response, Daluz said he is asking Taguiam to come up with a proposal and “not incite more conflict.”

“There is a worsening water problem now and I would have expected a president to give us some of his ideas on how to solve the problem and not keep on criticizing,” Daluz said in a mix of English and Cebuano.

Daluz said the CCCI hasn’t given a proposal in 10 years.

“From 2010 to 2020, the water problem is already critical in its shortage,” he said, adding that the current price of water is even more expensive than MCWD’s proposed increase.

The MCWD chairman said consumers are already buying P60 to P70 per barrel of water from private suppliers which is expensive.

Daluz said the MCWD board is open to talks and to proposals CCCI may have.

“Let’s unite,” Daluz said.

Desalination

Earlier, MCWD received an unsolicited offer from FDC Utilities Inc., a subsidiary of Filinvest Development Corp. (FDC), to build desalination plants in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu that can supply a total of 89 million liters per day.

MCWD has put the FDC Utilities proposal on Swiss Challenge, giving other companies 60 days from May 19, 2021 to counter the offer.

However, when MCWD operates desalination plants, this would mean an increase of P70 to P120 per cubic meter.

The increase means that from the current rate of P180 per 10 cubic meters, Cebu’s water rates could go up to as much as P300 for every 10 cubic meters of water.