Nalzaro: Can the new board solve MCWD’s woes?

Bobby Nalzaro

CEBU City Mayor Edgardo Labella has finally appointed five new members of the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) to replace members of the previous board whom he fired late last year for inefficiency. The new board members are former city councilor Joey Daluz III, former Cebu City mayor Alvin Garcia, broadcaster-columnist Frank Malilong, Manolette Dinsay and Mike Pato. Except for Pato, who is a businessman and the right hand of Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Mike Dino, the other four are lawyers by profession. They have their own affiliation and connection with Mayor Labella.

Daluz, who is perceived to be a candidate for the chairmanship, and Garcia are political allies of the mayor. My media colleague and idol Attorney Malilong is Labella’s buddy in the Walk and Talk Friendship Club. While Dinsay is identified with the camp of Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia. However, I don’t think Labella appointed these personalities because they are connected to him. He chose them because of their qualifications.

Some quarters asked, “What can lawyers and a businessman do to improve the services of the water district?” Can they solve the water crisis within the MCWD’s franchise areas, which we still experience up to now? Do these personalities have the technical knowhow to set a proper direction of the water district?

Well, these questions are somewhat irrelevant. Why? Because the board is the policy-making body of the water district as stated in Presidential Decree 198, or the Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973. An additional task is to direct management and the entire water district to concentrate all their efforts to achieve defined targets they believe are imperative in the short, medium and long term.

The Board of Directors’ key purpose is to ensure the company’s prosperity by collectively directing the company’s affairs, whilst meeting the appropriate interests of its shareholders and stakeholders. I think the MCWD is run by professional people and what the board can do is to set policy directions and monitor its projects’ implementation.

There are suggestions by some quarters about the possible privatization of MCWD. Why not? I hope the new Board of Directors will entertain, consider and look into such proposal if there is any. We are looking for a concrete solution to the water crisis and improve the services of our water district to be more efficient. We cannot expect efficient service of our public utilities if it is still managed by the government. Look at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport. The airport wouldn’t have improved if it was still run by the airport authority and without the GMR- Megawide infusing investments in the facility.

The issue between Malacañang and the two water distributors in Metro Manila--the Manila Water Services and Maynilad Water Inc.--is not a cause for alarm if we want to privatize the MCWD. What caused President Duterte’s ire is the “onerous” contract between the Metropolitan Water Sewerage Services and the two water distributors. Malacañang and Department of Justice lawyers have already corrected the defective contract and offered it again to the two distributors. Duterte is not against privatization, per se, because he knows that a private company can improve on an efficient system and provide excellent service.

Unsa lagi inyong palabihon, ang gobiyerno maoy modumala nga barato ang rate sa tubig apan walay agas sa inyong gripo? O ang private nga medyo mosaka ang rate gamay pero 24 oras naay tubig? Tiaw nimo nang si Atty. Eddie Barrita walay tarung tulog kay mag-atang sa tubig ug magsawud alas dos sa kadlawon. Aber, pagpili kuno mo?

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