I made a surprise inspection on the wells and reservoir that the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) operates in Liloan from which MCWD takes at least 15,000 cubic meters (15 million liters per day (mld)) to supply to Metro Cebu.
Of the 17 wells MCWD operates across our 4 barangays, what I found were wells in a dilapidated state, with 2 wells damaged beyond repair due to saltwater intrusion, and practically abandoned.
I met Liloanons living beside the wells, and yet, ironically, DO NOT HAVE DIRECT ACCESS TO WATER IN THEIR HOMES from MCWD. This, in addition to the multitude of complaints I have received from Liloan residents who suffer from constant water interruption and shortage.
Along with the rest of Cebu, Liloan now finds itself in the grip of a water crisis.
It is unbearable and unjust to see people suffer from the scarcity of something so basic and fundamental as water. We must hold to account those who have known about this impending water crisis but have done so little to avert it, while profiting greatly in the process.
At the Metro Cebu Development Coordinating Board Meeting, I was shocked to find out that MCWD had known about the impending shortage of water as far back as 15 years ago. Yet here we are, in the midst of this crisis, with MCWD offering no clear immediate solution to resolve it, passing on the burden to local government units such as Liloan to continue to give up our water to MCWD without even ensuring that our own people are served.
According to MCWD’s published Annual Report in 2016, MCWD reported revenues of over Php 1.7 Billion. Of this, they only invested Php 160 Million back into the water systems of Cebu, or not even 10% of what they made.
Why has MCWD given back so little to the public that has enriched MCWD by so much?
In 1992, MCWD entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Municipal Government of Liloan to extract water from a total of 17 wells. Since MCWD would profit from getting Liloan’s water to supply Cebu, MCWD promised uninterrupted 24/7 priority water supply to residents of Liloan, and to provide water systems in the mountain barangays, among other things.
Nearly 30 years after the MOA was signed, 2 of our wells will never again be able to provide potable water as they have been irreparably damaged and Liloan remains uncompensated. No water systems have been set up by MCWD in the mountains, constraining us in the LGU to undertake construction ourselves.
Our people literally thirst for the water MCWD takes from them, giving little or nothing back in return.
While we have always willingly shared our water with the rest of Metro Cebu and are very much willing to continue to do so, MCWD has sadly failed to ensure that Liloan does not lack for water. The sorry state of the wells they operate in Liloan and the very poor quality of service reflect the lack or absence of care for our people.
Our Sangguniang Bayan has issued a Resolution expressing its extreme dissatisfaction and frustration over the services of MCWD, thereby authorizing me to terminate Liloan’s MOA with them.
As Mayor of Liloan, I will do my duty to protect the general welfare of all Liloanons. As a Cebuano, I will seek answers and accountability from MCWD and demand from them what is right and just for Cebu.