Angeles Water District, LGU on warpath over jurisdiction

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CLARK FREEPORT — Officials of the Angeles City Water District and the local government are in warpath over jurisdiction in terms of management and operations of the former as both threatens to file actions against each other. 

“Local officials may face abuse of authority raps for intervention which is punishable of 60-day suspension or removal from office under section 60 of the Local government Code,” Bernie Cruz, chariman of the ACWD, told reporters during press conference held at Fortune Clark restaurant Friday (Jan 31).

Cruz said any complaints against ACWD must be brought to the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) and not with the City Council.

The City Council, Cruz said have been questioning the contracts and management of the ACWD which is a clear violation of memorandum circular 2019-03 issued by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Ano.

“In light of reports that some local government officials were intervening in the operations of local water districts”.

Ano reiterates his reminder to local government officials against controlling water districts.

“Cases may be filed at the Office of the Ombudsman against local officials who exercise power over local water districts,” Ano stated in the memorandum.

Given independence from any political supervision, Ano stated that water districts may enter into public-private partnerships or joint venture agreement with water utility companies.

ACWD entered a contract with A.M. Gatbonton as its supplier of bulk water, going through the legal procedures including bidding, said Cruz.  

“Since it offered the lowest price of P10.50 per cubic meter as compared to other suppliers whose price offer was between P14 to P16 per cubic meter,” Cruz pointed out adding that ACWD is charging P22 per cubic meter that gives the water firm P12 per cubic meter revenue in return.

Cruz said ACWD partnership with A.M. Gatbonton will assist the district in realizing its goal of providing water supply to all barangays in Angeles City and at the same time allow the water district to refrain from extracting groundwater which brigngs adverse environmental effects.