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THE Archdiocese of Caceres lost and gained an archbishop on Thursday, February 22, 2024, with the retirement of Rolando Tria Tirona and the appointment of Rex Andrew Alarcon. In a report by CBCP News, Pope Francis has appointed Daet Bishop Rex Andrew Alarcon as the new archbishop of Caceres. "As archbishop of Caceres, Alarcon will oversee the pastoral care of Catholics in Naga City, considered the economic, cultural, educational, and religious center of the Bicol Region," said CBCP News. Alarcon will be succeeding Tirona, who retired at the age of 77."Tirona has led the archdiocese since November 2012," said the official news agency of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Alarcon was born in Daet, Camarines Norte on August 6, 1970, and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Caceres on November 9, 1996. Before becoming a bishop, the 53-year-old led the Bicol Association of Catholic Schools and served as the president of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP).On January 2, 2019, the Vatican appointed him as the bishop of Daet. Within the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Alarcon currently serves as the chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Youth. (HDT/SunStar Philippines) How do I bet on horse racing in the Philippines? Philippines IN THE continuing struggle for control over the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD), the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA)-installed officer-in-charge (OIC), John Dx Lapid, was barred from entering the MCWD office building in downtown Cebu City on Monday morning, while on the same day Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and seven mayors expressed their support for the MCWD officials who had been suspended by the LWUA.Lapid was able to enter only after general manger Edgar Donoso, the person whom Lapid was supposed to replace, issued a memorandum at 12:32 p.m. allowing Lapid to enter and to report to his post as division manager for customer care, but not as OIC.Lapid had been outside the MCWD building since 5:59 a.m. Lapid said the LWUA had instructed him not to leave the entrance of the basement parking of the MCWD building.Upon hearing of his plight, Cebu City Administrator Collin Rosell, along with City Budget Officer Jerone Castillo and City Legal Officer Carlo Vincent Gimena, arrived at the MCWD office to support Lapid in his appointment as OIC general manager.The LWUA appointed Lapid following its suspension of Donoso for 90 days last Friday, April 12. When Lapid finally entered the MCWD building, he called for a general assembly on the eighth floor. But only a few employees showed up.Lapid and the city officials went to the fifth floor to Donoso’s office, where a short confrontation occurred.MCWD secretary Jodelyn May Seno asked Rosell and Castillo to leave because they were city employees. The two ignored her, arguing that she had already been suspended by the LWUA.Members of the interim board installed by LWUA also arrived during the confrontation.Also present were Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO) head Harold Alcontin and Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office head Reymarr Hijara.At least 90 personnel from Task Force Kasaligan, along with CCDRRMO personnel, were deployed outside and inside the MCWD building.No entryDuring a press conference on Monday, MCWD chairman Jose Daluz III said they drafted a resolution barring Lapid and the interim board from the MCWD building.He said it was similar to the resolution Lapid started drafting to ban him, Donoso and the rest of his board, meaning Miguelito Pato and Seno, from entering.Daluz reiterated that the LWUA’s March 15 intervention that saw him, Pato and Seno suspended for six months, was illegal, arguing that it could only intervene if the MCWD defaulted financially on its loan, which it did not.“We only owe (LWUA) P13 million. We pay P65,000 every month, non-bearing interest. And we pay in advance,” he said in Cebuano.Daluz said the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel’s (OGCC) opinion regarding the LWUA’s actions was clear that LWUA could only intervene if there was a loan default. He said the LWUA did not abide by the OGCC’s opinion, as it had earlier promised.ResignDaluz also encouraged Lapid to resign from his post to show “decency,” saying that his acceptance of the OIC position was an act of “insubordination” towards his bosses.“I won’t resign,” Lapid responded.Lapid said he is a regular employee of the water district, adding that if they give him a show cause order he will answer it.He said if they fire him, then he will see what will happen.“I am not afraid because I firmly stand by my conviction that the LWUA has jurisdiction over a water district, not just MCWD, but all water districts,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English.Lapid said the LWUA’s suspension of Donoso and the Daluz-led board was part of the due process.“Nibarog ta for the water district para mahuman ni tanan problema (I stood up for the water district so all these problems would end),” he said, referring to the struggle for control of MCWD.Donoso said he did not receive a copy of his suspension order.He also questioned why he was not afforded due time to explain his side.Donoso said the respect and hospitality they gave to LWUA have reached their limits.He reiterated that the LWUA’s takeover was unfounded and without due process.Employees, mayors back DaluzMeanwhile, Sammy Suson, president of the MCWD employees’ union with 583 members, said they do not support Lapid’s appointment as OIC general manager.“We will not recognize the intervention of the LWUA,” Suson said.Daniel Lim Jr., president of the non-regular employees’ union with 100 members, echoed his sentiment.Some local chief executives in Metro Cebu also expressed their support for the Daluz-led board and Donoso.Daluz, Donoso, Seno and suspended board vice chairman Pato met with Consolacion Mayor Teresa Alegado, Compostela Mayor Felijur Quiño, Cordova Mayor Cesar Suan, Liloan Mayor Aljew Frasco, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia at the Capitol on Monday.During a press conference at the Capitol, the governor said the LWUA’s intervention was untimely, creating confusion among employees and consumers as the province faces the effects of the El Niño phenomenon. She said she had brokered an agreement between both parties that they must adhere to the legal opinion of the OGCC, which was released last April 2. Garcia said the LWUA misinterpreted the OGCC’s opinion in its favor, and pushed through with its partial intervention. She said if LWUA insists on interfering in the local water district, she may be forced to invoke Section 16 of Republic Act 7162, or the “General Welfare” clause of the Local Government Code, to ensure the status quo at the MCWD.“I may call on government agency or uniformed personnel to see to it that the General Welfare Board of the constituent of Cebu will be upheld and law will be upheld because all of us took a solemn oath to that,” Garcia said. The mayors backed Garcia’s statement, arguing that changing the administration of a government agency that serves water during a dry spell was unnecessary. The MCWD’s franchise area includes the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Talisay, and the municipalities of Consolacion, Compostela, Cordova and Liloan. The mayors also condemned LWUA’s partial intervention as unlawful due to its invalid reasons and not following the OGCC opinion. Members of the Provincial Board (PB) and Daanbantayan Mayor Sun Shimura, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, were also at the meeting to support the Daluz-led board and Donoso.Garcia said the PB will pass a resolution to support the mayors’ plea. The LWUA suspended Daluz, Pato and Seno for six months starting March 15, to give way for its investigation on several issues at the MCWD. It suspended Donoso last April 12 for 90 days for continuing to defy the interim board’s request to turn over documents on MCWD’s transactions and failing to respond to a five-day notice to explain his decision. Gwen vs. RamaThis is not the first time that the governor has backed officials and agencies that are at odds with the Cebu City Government.Garcia also supported the Cebu Port Authority, and called out the City for ignoring the port authority’s territorial jurisdiction.Earlier in the year, she and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama also disagreed on the implementation of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit project, which resulted in the mayor filing an administrative case against Garcia for “meddling” in the city’s project.Garcia had issued a cease and desist order against the contractor to stop the construction of a bus station near the Capitol building due to lack of a permit related to heritage zones.As for the conflict at the MCWD, it started when Rama fired the Daluz-led board. Daluz had said he would opt to wait for the LWUA’s intervention on the matter and abide by the agency’s order. But last March 15, when the LWUA informed Daluz and Donoso that it would intervene in the water district for six months and appoint an interim board to replace the Daluz-led board, Donoso wrote the OGCC for its opinion on the matter. When the OGCC released its opinion, the LWUA and Daluz interpreted it differently in their favor. LWUA speaks outIn a statement late Monday, LWUA Administrator Jose Moises Salonga said that although the OGCC’s opinion cited Section 61 of Presidential Decree 198 (Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973), which talks of default in terms of payment of the principal or interest on a loan, the same section also provides that “default includes ‘other obligations to the Administration’ as another ground independent from the financial provisions.”“The 2015 Financial Assistance Contract (FAC) memorializes those obligations both financial and technical. In fact, that very document notes that any failure to deliver or comply with any obligation, promise or covenant is a situation of breach and default. Thus, for Mr. Daluz and company to claim that default ONLY pertains to loans is merely their own interpretation that they are desperately peddling to the public, and we fear, to the governor and mayors,” Salonga said.“The default on the part of MCWD pertains to its obligations under the FAC between MCWD and LWUA, wherein MCWD committed to perform the following:1. To comply with the provisions of PD 198 or other amendatory decrees, acts, or laws, and the rules, regulations, and standards established by LWUA. 2. To establish a leakage control program. within one year from the date of the FAC. Said program will identify the principal causes of water losses in MCWD, identify its precise location, and establish a priority schedule to minimize such losses. The leakage control program will establish and systematically maintain a record of its transmission and distribution systems and will develop procedures for the regular inspection and repair of distribution mains and service connections to achieve a water loss position that is satisfactory to LWUA. 3. To consult LWUA before it appoints or makes permanent its General Manager, whose appointment shall be subject to confirmation of LWUA. “The above violations constitute default on the part of MCWD under the 2015 FAC.”Furthermore, he said MCWD had a high NRW (non-revenue water), which had no marked improvement from year 2020 to 2022. The consistent rise in its NRW during this period resulted in an annual loss on revenue by an average of at least P117.759 million. “MCWD’s NRW steadily increased from 20.34 million cu.m. in 2020 (with a 25.26 percent NRW), to 24.542 million cu.m in 2021 (29.04 percent NRW), and 29.481 million cu. m in 2022 (32.67 percent NRW)” when, in fact, Salonga said, MCWD had committed to a 15 percent NRW rate for 2023, which it failed to achieve. From the FAC signing, MCWD has yet to come up with the measures, plans and results it had committed in the deal, Salonga said.BankruptAnother reason for the LWUA action of suspending the Daluz-led board is that “at the rate the procurement is going, at the prices they are contracting, LWUA fears that MCWD as a GOCC (government owned and controlled corporation) is going to go bankrupt soon.”The FAC also gives LWUA multiple options to address the violations of MCWD. “The preventive suspension of the members of the MCWD board was a tame response on the part of LWUA and merely a preliminary step to investigate the violations of the FAC,” he said. Due processSalonga said due process was complied with, as it provided the suspended MCWD board multiple opportunities to respond to the violations “through the issuances of the show cause order and final demand letter dated 20 March 2024, and 03 April 2024, respectively. The suspended MCWD failed to respond, and thereby deemed to have waived their right to be heard prior to the remedial actions of LWUA.”He said LWUA is performing its mandate under PD 198 by implementing the FAC to ensure the prudent use of public funds and the provision of basic services to the people. He asked the local chief executives of Cebu to reconsider their position “upon a careful study of the full state of facts.”“At this time where El Niño is present and no infrastructure work can be done due to strained political and community relations, there is no reason why LWUA should not act in the most expedient manner,” Salonga said. / EHP, AML, JJL, CTL

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IN THE continuing struggle for control over the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD), the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA)-installed officer-in-charge (OIC), John Dx Lapid, was barred from entering the MCWD office building in downtown Cebu City on Monday morning, while on the same day Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and seven mayors expressed their support for the MCWD officials who had been suspended by the LWUA.Lapid was able to enter only after general manger Edgar Donoso, the person whom Lapid was supposed to replace, issued a memorandum at 12:32 p.m. allowing Lapid to enter and to report to his post as division manager for customer care, but not as OIC.Lapid had been outside the MCWD building since 5:59 a.m. Lapid said the LWUA had instructed him not to leave the entrance of the basement parking of the MCWD building.Upon hearing of his plight, Cebu City Administrator Collin Rosell, along with City Budget Officer Jerone Castillo and City Legal Officer Carlo Vincent Gimena, arrived at the MCWD office to support Lapid in his appointment as OIC general manager.The LWUA appointed Lapid following its suspension of Donoso for 90 days last Friday, April 12. When Lapid finally entered the MCWD building, he called for a general assembly on the eighth floor. But only a few employees showed up.Lapid and the city officials went to the fifth floor to Donoso’s office, where a short confrontation occurred.MCWD secretary Jodelyn May Seno asked Rosell and Castillo to leave because they were city employees. The two ignored her, arguing that she had already been suspended by the LWUA.Members of the interim board installed by LWUA also arrived during the confrontation.Also present were Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO) head Harold Alcontin and Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office head Reymarr Hijara.At least 90 personnel from Task Force Kasaligan, along with CCDRRMO personnel, were deployed outside and inside the MCWD building.No entryDuring a press conference on Monday, MCWD chairman Jose Daluz III said they drafted a resolution barring Lapid and the interim board from the MCWD building.He said it was similar to the resolution Lapid started drafting to ban him, Donoso and the rest of his board, meaning Miguelito Pato and Seno, from entering.Daluz reiterated that the LWUA’s March 15 intervention that saw him, Pato and Seno suspended for six months, was illegal, arguing that it could only intervene if the MCWD defaulted financially on its loan, which it did not.“We only owe (LWUA) P13 million. We pay P65,000 every month, non-bearing interest. And we pay in advance,” he said in Cebuano.Daluz said the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel’s (OGCC) opinion regarding the LWUA’s actions was clear that LWUA could only intervene if there was a loan default. He said the LWUA did not abide by the OGCC’s opinion, as it had earlier promised.ResignDaluz also encouraged Lapid to resign from his post to show “decency,” saying that his acceptance of the OIC position was an act of “insubordination” towards his bosses.“I won’t resign,” Lapid responded.Lapid said he is a regular employee of the water district, adding that if they give him a show cause order he will answer it.He said if they fire him, then he will see what will happen.“I am not afraid because I firmly stand by my conviction that the LWUA has jurisdiction over a water district, not just MCWD, but all water districts,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English.Lapid said the LWUA’s suspension of Donoso and the Daluz-led board was part of the due process.“Nibarog ta for the water district para mahuman ni tanan problema (I stood up for the water district so all these problems would end),” he said, referring to the struggle for control of MCWD.Donoso said he did not receive a copy of his suspension order.He also questioned why he was not afforded due time to explain his side.Donoso said the respect and hospitality they gave to LWUA have reached their limits.He reiterated that the LWUA’s takeover was unfounded and without due process.Employees, mayors back DaluzMeanwhile, Sammy Suson, president of the MCWD employees’ union with 583 members, said they do not support Lapid’s appointment as OIC general manager.“We will not recognize the intervention of the LWUA,” Suson said.Daniel Lim Jr., president of the non-regular employees’ union with 100 members, echoed his sentiment.Some local chief executives in Metro Cebu also expressed their support for the Daluz-led board and Donoso.Daluz, Donoso, Seno and suspended board vice chairman Pato met with Consolacion Mayor Teresa Alegado, Compostela Mayor Felijur Quiño, Cordova Mayor Cesar Suan, Liloan Mayor Aljew Frasco, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia at the Capitol on Monday.During a press conference at the Capitol, the governor said the LWUA’s intervention was untimely, creating confusion among employees and consumers as the province faces the effects of the El Niño phenomenon. She said she had brokered an agreement between both parties that they must adhere to the legal opinion of the OGCC, which was released last April 2. Garcia said the LWUA misinterpreted the OGCC’s opinion in its favor, and pushed through with its partial intervention. She said if LWUA insists on interfering in the local water district, she may be forced to invoke Section 16 of Republic Act 7162, or the “General Welfare” clause of the Local Government Code, to ensure the status quo at the MCWD.“I may call on government agency or uniformed personnel to see to it that the General Welfare Board of the constituent of Cebu will be upheld and law will be upheld because all of us took a solemn oath to that,” Garcia said. The mayors backed Garcia’s statement, arguing that changing the administration of a government agency that serves water during a dry spell was unnecessary. The MCWD’s franchise area includes the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Talisay, and the municipalities of Consolacion, Compostela, Cordova and Liloan. The mayors also condemned LWUA’s partial intervention as unlawful due to its invalid reasons and not following the OGCC opinion. Members of the Provincial Board (PB) and Daanbantayan Mayor Sun Shimura, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, were also at the meeting to support the Daluz-led board and Donoso.Garcia said the PB will pass a resolution to support the mayors’ plea. The LWUA suspended Daluz, Pato and Seno for six months starting March 15, to give way for its investigation on several issues at the MCWD. It suspended Donoso last April 12 for 90 days for continuing to defy the interim board’s request to turn over documents on MCWD’s transactions and failing to respond to a five-day notice to explain his decision. Gwen vs. RamaThis is not the first time that the governor has backed officials and agencies that are at odds with the Cebu City Government.Garcia also supported the Cebu Port Authority, and called out the City for ignoring the port authority’s territorial jurisdiction.Earlier in the year, she and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama also disagreed on the implementation of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit project, which resulted in the mayor filing an administrative case against Garcia for “meddling” in the city’s project.Garcia had issued a cease and desist order against the contractor to stop the construction of a bus station near the Capitol building due to lack of a permit related to heritage zones.As for the conflict at the MCWD, it started when Rama fired the Daluz-led board. Daluz had said he would opt to wait for the LWUA’s intervention on the matter and abide by the agency’s order. But last March 15, when the LWUA informed Daluz and Donoso that it would intervene in the water district for six months and appoint an interim board to replace the Daluz-led board, Donoso wrote the OGCC for its opinion on the matter. When the OGCC released its opinion, the LWUA and Daluz interpreted it differently in their favor. LWUA speaks outIn a statement late Monday, LWUA Administrator Jose Moises Salonga said that although the OGCC’s opinion cited Section 61 of Presidential Decree 198 (Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973), which talks of default in terms of payment of the principal or interest on a loan, the same section also provides that “default includes ‘other obligations to the Administration’ as another ground independent from the financial provisions.”“The 2015 Financial Assistance Contract (FAC) memorializes those obligations both financial and technical. In fact, that very document notes that any failure to deliver or comply with any obligation, promise or covenant is a situation of breach and default. Thus, for Mr. Daluz and company to claim that default ONLY pertains to loans is merely their own interpretation that they are desperately peddling to the public, and we fear, to the governor and mayors,” Salonga said.“The default on the part of MCWD pertains to its obligations under the FAC between MCWD and LWUA, wherein MCWD committed to perform the following:1. To comply with the provisions of PD 198 or other amendatory decrees, acts, or laws, and the rules, regulations, and standards established by LWUA. 2. To establish a leakage control program. within one year from the date of the FAC. Said program will identify the principal causes of water losses in MCWD, identify its precise location, and establish a priority schedule to minimize such losses. The leakage control program will establish and systematically maintain a record of its transmission and distribution systems and will develop procedures for the regular inspection and repair of distribution mains and service connections to achieve a water loss position that is satisfactory to LWUA. 3. To consult LWUA before it appoints or makes permanent its General Manager, whose appointment shall be subject to confirmation of LWUA. “The above violations constitute default on the part of MCWD under the 2015 FAC.”Furthermore, he said MCWD had a high NRW (non-revenue water), which had no marked improvement from year 2020 to 2022. The consistent rise in its NRW during this period resulted in an annual loss on revenue by an average of at least P117.759 million. “MCWD’s NRW steadily increased from 20.34 million cu.m. in 2020 (with a 25.26 percent NRW), to 24.542 million cu.m in 2021 (29.04 percent NRW), and 29.481 million cu. m in 2022 (32.67 percent NRW)” when, in fact, Salonga said, MCWD had committed to a 15 percent NRW rate for 2023, which it failed to achieve. From the FAC signing, MCWD has yet to come up with the measures, plans and results it had committed in the deal, Salonga said.BankruptAnother reason for the LWUA action of suspending the Daluz-led board is that “at the rate the procurement is going, at the prices they are contracting, LWUA fears that MCWD as a GOCC (government owned and controlled corporation) is going to go bankrupt soon.”The FAC also gives LWUA multiple options to address the violations of MCWD. “The preventive suspension of the members of the MCWD board was a tame response on the part of LWUA and merely a preliminary step to investigate the violations of the FAC,” he said. Due processSalonga said due process was complied with, as it provided the suspended MCWD board multiple opportunities to respond to the violations “through the issuances of the show cause order and final demand letter dated 20 March 2024, and 03 April 2024, respectively. The suspended MCWD failed to respond, and thereby deemed to have waived their right to be heard prior to the remedial actions of LWUA.”He said LWUA is performing its mandate under PD 198 by implementing the FAC to ensure the prudent use of public funds and the provision of basic services to the people. He asked the local chief executives of Cebu to reconsider their position “upon a careful study of the full state of facts.”“At this time where El Niño is present and no infrastructure work can be done due to strained political and community relations, there is no reason why LWUA should not act in the most expedient manner,” Salonga said. / EHP, AML, JJL, CTL What are the common gambling games in the Philippines? THE acting general manager of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) will work with the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) while it is investigating high non-revenue water (NRW) and other issues at the water district.John Dx Lapid, MCWD division manager for customer care, said he will also formulate measures to alleviate the effects of the El Niño phenomenon during his tenure.In a phone interview on Saturday, April 13, Lapid told SunStar Cebu that the LWUA’s interim board informed him on Friday, April 12, about his temporary appointment following the 90-day preventive suspension of general manager Edgar Donoso. The LWUA suspended Donoso on Friday because he continued to defy the interim board’s request to turn over documents regarding the MCWD’s transactions and he failed to respond to a five-day notice to explain his decision. Lapid said the MCWD will provide the LWUA with whatever it needs in its investigation.“They are asking for signed contracts, pending projects, mga COA (Commission on Audit) disallowance, so mao ni ang ilahang gipangayo nga documents (those are the documents they are asking for),” Lapid said. “By Monday, I will be meeting the managers, the rank-and-file, and (I) will assure them that there will be no vacuum of power that will happen. Rest assured with our consumers that our services will remain. Walay mausab (Nothing will change),” he said.The interim board has requested for police to be deployed at the MCWD office in downtown Cebu City to prohibit suspended Donoso and regular board of directors chairman Jose Daluz III, along with vice chairman Miguelito Pato and secretary Jodelyn May Seno from interfering with the investigation and from pressuring water district employees. SunStar Cebu tried to reach Donoso and Daluz for comment, but to no avail.“They kept on insisting that there is no due process of what’s happening right now, but preventive suspension of our GM and suspension of our board of directors is part of the due process and they can find it in different jurisprudence,” Lapid said. Nothing to hide“If we are not hiding in the water district, there should be no problem at all,” he said. He said the dispute between LWUA and the MCWD BOD is “illogical” as the water district needs LWUA to approve its pending tariff rate increase application.Lapid said the tariff rates need to be raised because of the water district’s contracts with different water suppliers which come at a higher cost.“We badly need our tariff increase because of our new (water) sources,” he said.He said if the increase is approved, then commercial users will subsidize the water rate of residential users.“Mao gyud na ang design sa tariff nato sa (That’s how the tariff was designed at the) MCWD,” he said. On March 15, Daluz, along with Pato and Seno, was suspended for a period of six months in order for the LWUA-installed interim board to investigate issues surrounding the water district.But the trio has refused to step aside or to cooperate with the LWUA’s investigation.According to the Cebu City Government’s public information office (PIO), the interim board was able to pass the resolution suspending Donoso only after it was finally able to hold its first meeting inside the MCWD building on Friday.Gaining entry to the board room was not easy, as the MCWD’s executive committee refused to recognize them.According to the Cebu City Government’s report, Jorge Gabriente, MCWD assistant general manager for technical services, said Donoso had instructed him not to let the interim board enter the MCWD board room. But Gabriente later relented after a lawyer for the LWUA said he could face charges for defying them.SignatoriesThe resolution suspending Donoso was signed only by MCWD interim board chairperson Maria Rosan Perez, vice chairman Noel Samonte, secretary Anabelle Gravador, and member Rey Asterio Tambis, as fifth member, lawyer Manolette Fel Dinsay, was not present. It is not known when Tambis and Dinsay were installed as members of the interim board, as the LWUA’s order installing the interim board on March 15 mentioned the designation only of Perez and engineers Samonte and Gravador as interim board members.The PIO further reported that newly installed MCWD acting manager Lapid, a lawyer, asked his fellow employees to comply with the LWUA’s order and cooperate with the regulatory body’s investigation.The MCWD, under Daluz as chairman, entered into various contracts for desalination projects in Barangay Opao, Mandaue City and in Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City to each deliver 25,000 cubic meters of water per day to the water district. However, these were criticized due to the expensive water rate, which would affect the coffers of the water district. In a tit for tat, the interim board is set to issue a resolution to bar Donoso and suspended MCWD board directors Daluz, Pato and Seno from entering the premises, the PIO said. Last March 21, LWUA Chairman Ronnie Ong said the reason the regulatory body suspended MCWD’s board led by Daluz was so the LWUA could investigate MCWD for its high NRW, alleged failure to comply with procurement laws, and its questionable application for a 70 percent water rate hike. Daluz, Pato and Seno have been holding on to their posts even after Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama fired them last year and replaced them with retired major general Melquiades Feliciano, Aristotle Batuhan and Nelson Yuvallos last Oct. 31, while retaining Danilo Ortiz and Earl Bonachita as board members.The three, as well as the now suspended general manager Donoso, have questioned the LWUA’s authority to undertake the March 15 takeover of the board and sought the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel’s (OGCC) opinion on the matter which, handed down on March 26, was interpreted by both the LWUA and the MCWD as being in their favor.Following the release of the OGCC’s opinion, the LWUA’s lawyers last April 3 served the final demand notice to Daluz, Seno and Pato to vacate the premises of MCWD’s office and stop usurping the authority of its interim board — which was again ignored by the trio.The MCWD provides water services to the cities of Cebu, Talisay, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, and the towns of Cordova, Consolacion, Liloan and Compostela. (EHP, AML, CTL)

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THE acting general manager of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) will work with the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) while it is investigating high non-revenue water (NRW) and other issues at the water district.John Dx Lapid, MCWD division manager for customer care, said he will also formulate measures to alleviate the effects of the El Niño phenomenon during his tenure.In a phone interview on Saturday, April 13, Lapid told SunStar Cebu that the LWUA’s interim board informed him on Friday, April 12, about his temporary appointment following the 90-day preventive suspension of general manager Edgar Donoso. The LWUA suspended Donoso on Friday because he continued to defy the interim board’s request to turn over documents regarding the MCWD’s transactions and he failed to respond to a five-day notice to explain his decision. Lapid said the MCWD will provide the LWUA with whatever it needs in its investigation.“They are asking for signed contracts, pending projects, mga COA (Commission on Audit) disallowance, so mao ni ang ilahang gipangayo nga documents (those are the documents they are asking for),” Lapid said. “By Monday, I will be meeting the managers, the rank-and-file, and (I) will assure them that there will be no vacuum of power that will happen. Rest assured with our consumers that our services will remain. Walay mausab (Nothing will change),” he said.The interim board has requested for police to be deployed at the MCWD office in downtown Cebu City to prohibit suspended Donoso and regular board of directors chairman Jose Daluz III, along with vice chairman Miguelito Pato and secretary Jodelyn May Seno from interfering with the investigation and from pressuring water district employees. SunStar Cebu tried to reach Donoso and Daluz for comment, but to no avail.“They kept on insisting that there is no due process of what’s happening right now, but preventive suspension of our GM and suspension of our board of directors is part of the due process and they can find it in different jurisprudence,” Lapid said. Nothing to hide“If we are not hiding in the water district, there should be no problem at all,” he said. He said the dispute between LWUA and the MCWD BOD is “illogical” as the water district needs LWUA to approve its pending tariff rate increase application.Lapid said the tariff rates need to be raised because of the water district’s contracts with different water suppliers which come at a higher cost.“We badly need our tariff increase because of our new (water) sources,” he said.He said if the increase is approved, then commercial users will subsidize the water rate of residential users.“Mao gyud na ang design sa tariff nato sa (That’s how the tariff was designed at the) MCWD,” he said. On March 15, Daluz, along with Pato and Seno, was suspended for a period of six months in order for the LWUA-installed interim board to investigate issues surrounding the water district.But the trio has refused to step aside or to cooperate with the LWUA’s investigation.According to the Cebu City Government’s public information office (PIO), the interim board was able to pass the resolution suspending Donoso only after it was finally able to hold its first meeting inside the MCWD building on Friday.Gaining entry to the board room was not easy, as the MCWD’s executive committee refused to recognize them.According to the Cebu City Government’s report, Jorge Gabriente, MCWD assistant general manager for technical services, said Donoso had instructed him not to let the interim board enter the MCWD board room. But Gabriente later relented after a lawyer for the LWUA said he could face charges for defying them.SignatoriesThe resolution suspending Donoso was signed only by MCWD interim board chairperson Maria Rosan Perez, vice chairman Noel Samonte, secretary Anabelle Gravador, and member Rey Asterio Tambis, as fifth member, lawyer Manolette Fel Dinsay, was not present. It is not known when Tambis and Dinsay were installed as members of the interim board, as the LWUA’s order installing the interim board on March 15 mentioned the designation only of Perez and engineers Samonte and Gravador as interim board members.The PIO further reported that newly installed MCWD acting manager Lapid, a lawyer, asked his fellow employees to comply with the LWUA’s order and cooperate with the regulatory body’s investigation.The MCWD, under Daluz as chairman, entered into various contracts for desalination projects in Barangay Opao, Mandaue City and in Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City to each deliver 25,000 cubic meters of water per day to the water district. However, these were criticized due to the expensive water rate, which would affect the coffers of the water district. In a tit for tat, the interim board is set to issue a resolution to bar Donoso and suspended MCWD board directors Daluz, Pato and Seno from entering the premises, the PIO said. Last March 21, LWUA Chairman Ronnie Ong said the reason the regulatory body suspended MCWD’s board led by Daluz was so the LWUA could investigate MCWD for its high NRW, alleged failure to comply with procurement laws, and its questionable application for a 70 percent water rate hike. Daluz, Pato and Seno have been holding on to their posts even after Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama fired them last year and replaced them with retired major general Melquiades Feliciano, Aristotle Batuhan and Nelson Yuvallos last Oct. 31, while retaining Danilo Ortiz and Earl Bonachita as board members.The three, as well as the now suspended general manager Donoso, have questioned the LWUA’s authority to undertake the March 15 takeover of the board and sought the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel’s (OGCC) opinion on the matter which, handed down on March 26, was interpreted by both the LWUA and the MCWD as being in their favor.Following the release of the OGCC’s opinion, the LWUA’s lawyers last April 3 served the final demand notice to Daluz, Seno and Pato to vacate the premises of MCWD’s office and stop usurping the authority of its interim board — which was again ignored by the trio.The MCWD provides water services to the cities of Cebu, Talisay, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, and the towns of Cordova, Consolacion, Liloan and Compostela. (EHP, AML, CTL) What are the common gambling games in the Philippines? THE Archdiocese of Caceres lost and gained an archbishop on Thursday, February 22, 2024, with the retirement of Rolando Tria Tirona and the appointment of Rex Andrew Alarcon. In a report by CBCP News, Pope Francis has appointed Daet Bishop Rex Andrew Alarcon as the new archbishop of Caceres. "As archbishop of Caceres, Alarcon will oversee the pastoral care of Catholics in Naga City, considered the economic, cultural, educational, and religious center of the Bicol Region," said CBCP News. Alarcon will be succeeding Tirona, who retired at the age of 77."Tirona has led the archdiocese since November 2012," said the official news agency of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Alarcon was born in Daet, Camarines Norte on August 6, 1970, and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Caceres on November 9, 1996. Before becoming a bishop, the 53-year-old led the Bicol Association of Catholic Schools and served as the president of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP).On January 2, 2019, the Vatican appointed him as the bishop of Daet. Within the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Alarcon currently serves as the chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Youth. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)

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THE Archdiocese of Caceres lost and gained an archbishop on Thursday, February 22, 2024, with the retirement of Rolando Tria Tirona and the appointment of Rex Andrew Alarcon. In a report by CBCP News, Pope Francis has appointed Daet Bishop Rex Andrew Alarcon as the new archbishop of Caceres. "As archbishop of Caceres, Alarcon will oversee the pastoral care of Catholics in Naga City, considered the economic, cultural, educational, and religious center of the Bicol Region," said CBCP News. Alarcon will be succeeding Tirona, who retired at the age of 77."Tirona has led the archdiocese since November 2012," said the official news agency of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Alarcon was born in Daet, Camarines Norte on August 6, 1970, and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Caceres on November 9, 1996. Before becoming a bishop, the 53-year-old led the Bicol Association of Catholic Schools and served as the president of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP).On January 2, 2019, the Vatican appointed him as the bishop of Daet. Within the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Alarcon currently serves as the chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Youth. (HDT/SunStar Philippines), BK8 Youtube ✔️ Safe & Secure Best Casinos in PH ✔️ 100+ Expert Casino Game Reviews ▷ Take Your Pick from the Top Player! check the following table to see what categories most online casinos in the Philippines fit in.

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IN THE continuing struggle for control over the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD), the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA)-installed officer-in-charge (OIC), John Dx Lapid, was barred from entering the MCWD office building in downtown Cebu City on Monday morning, while on the same day Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and seven mayors expressed their support for the MCWD officials who had been suspended by the LWUA.Lapid was able to enter only after general manger Edgar Donoso, the person whom Lapid was supposed to replace, issued a memorandum at 12:32 p.m. allowing Lapid to enter and to report to his post as division manager for customer care, but not as OIC.Lapid had been outside the MCWD building since 5:59 a.m. Lapid said the LWUA had instructed him not to leave the entrance of the basement parking of the MCWD building.Upon hearing of his plight, Cebu City Administrator Collin Rosell, along with City Budget Officer Jerone Castillo and City Legal Officer Carlo Vincent Gimena, arrived at the MCWD office to support Lapid in his appointment as OIC general manager.The LWUA appointed Lapid following its suspension of Donoso for 90 days last Friday, April 12. When Lapid finally entered the MCWD building, he called for a general assembly on the eighth floor. But only a few employees showed up.Lapid and the city officials went to the fifth floor to Donoso’s office, where a short confrontation occurred.MCWD secretary Jodelyn May Seno asked Rosell and Castillo to leave because they were city employees. The two ignored her, arguing that she had already been suspended by the LWUA.Members of the interim board installed by LWUA also arrived during the confrontation.Also present were Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO) head Harold Alcontin and Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office head Reymarr Hijara.At least 90 personnel from Task Force Kasaligan, along with CCDRRMO personnel, were deployed outside and inside the MCWD building.No entryDuring a press conference on Monday, MCWD chairman Jose Daluz III said they drafted a resolution barring Lapid and the interim board from the MCWD building.He said it was similar to the resolution Lapid started drafting to ban him, Donoso and the rest of his board, meaning Miguelito Pato and Seno, from entering.Daluz reiterated that the LWUA’s March 15 intervention that saw him, Pato and Seno suspended for six months, was illegal, arguing that it could only intervene if the MCWD defaulted financially on its loan, which it did not.“We only owe (LWUA) P13 million. We pay P65,000 every month, non-bearing interest. And we pay in advance,” he said in Cebuano.Daluz said the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel’s (OGCC) opinion regarding the LWUA’s actions was clear that LWUA could only intervene if there was a loan default. He said the LWUA did not abide by the OGCC’s opinion, as it had earlier promised.ResignDaluz also encouraged Lapid to resign from his post to show “decency,” saying that his acceptance of the OIC position was an act of “insubordination” towards his bosses.“I won’t resign,” Lapid responded.Lapid said he is a regular employee of the water district, adding that if they give him a show cause order he will answer it.He said if they fire him, then he will see what will happen.“I am not afraid because I firmly stand by my conviction that the LWUA has jurisdiction over a water district, not just MCWD, but all water districts,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English.Lapid said the LWUA’s suspension of Donoso and the Daluz-led board was part of the due process.“Nibarog ta for the water district para mahuman ni tanan problema (I stood up for the water district so all these problems would end),” he said, referring to the struggle for control of MCWD.Donoso said he did not receive a copy of his suspension order.He also questioned why he was not afforded due time to explain his side.Donoso said the respect and hospitality they gave to LWUA have reached their limits.He reiterated that the LWUA’s takeover was unfounded and without due process.Employees, mayors back DaluzMeanwhile, Sammy Suson, president of the MCWD employees’ union with 583 members, said they do not support Lapid’s appointment as OIC general manager.“We will not recognize the intervention of the LWUA,” Suson said.Daniel Lim Jr., president of the non-regular employees’ union with 100 members, echoed his sentiment.Some local chief executives in Metro Cebu also expressed their support for the Daluz-led board and Donoso.Daluz, Donoso, Seno and suspended board vice chairman Pato met with Consolacion Mayor Teresa Alegado, Compostela Mayor Felijur Quiño, Cordova Mayor Cesar Suan, Liloan Mayor Aljew Frasco, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia at the Capitol on Monday.During a press conference at the Capitol, the governor said the LWUA’s intervention was untimely, creating confusion among employees and consumers as the province faces the effects of the El Niño phenomenon. She said she had brokered an agreement between both parties that they must adhere to the legal opinion of the OGCC, which was released last April 2. Garcia said the LWUA misinterpreted the OGCC’s opinion in its favor, and pushed through with its partial intervention. She said if LWUA insists on interfering in the local water district, she may be forced to invoke Section 16 of Republic Act 7162, or the “General Welfare” clause of the Local Government Code, to ensure the status quo at the MCWD.“I may call on government agency or uniformed personnel to see to it that the General Welfare Board of the constituent of Cebu will be upheld and law will be upheld because all of us took a solemn oath to that,” Garcia said. The mayors backed Garcia’s statement, arguing that changing the administration of a government agency that serves water during a dry spell was unnecessary. The MCWD’s franchise area includes the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Talisay, and the municipalities of Consolacion, Compostela, Cordova and Liloan. The mayors also condemned LWUA’s partial intervention as unlawful due to its invalid reasons and not following the OGCC opinion. Members of the Provincial Board (PB) and Daanbantayan Mayor Sun Shimura, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, were also at the meeting to support the Daluz-led board and Donoso.Garcia said the PB will pass a resolution to support the mayors’ plea. The LWUA suspended Daluz, Pato and Seno for six months starting March 15, to give way for its investigation on several issues at the MCWD. It suspended Donoso last April 12 for 90 days for continuing to defy the interim board’s request to turn over documents on MCWD’s transactions and failing to respond to a five-day notice to explain his decision. Gwen vs. RamaThis is not the first time that the governor has backed officials and agencies that are at odds with the Cebu City Government.Garcia also supported the Cebu Port Authority, and called out the City for ignoring the port authority’s territorial jurisdiction.Earlier in the year, she and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama also disagreed on the implementation of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit project, which resulted in the mayor filing an administrative case against Garcia for “meddling” in the city’s project.Garcia had issued a cease and desist order against the contractor to stop the construction of a bus station near the Capitol building due to lack of a permit related to heritage zones.As for the conflict at the MCWD, it started when Rama fired the Daluz-led board. Daluz had said he would opt to wait for the LWUA’s intervention on the matter and abide by the agency’s order. But last March 15, when the LWUA informed Daluz and Donoso that it would intervene in the water district for six months and appoint an interim board to replace the Daluz-led board, Donoso wrote the OGCC for its opinion on the matter. When the OGCC released its opinion, the LWUA and Daluz interpreted it differently in their favor. LWUA speaks outIn a statement late Monday, LWUA Administrator Jose Moises Salonga said that although the OGCC’s opinion cited Section 61 of Presidential Decree 198 (Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973), which talks of default in terms of payment of the principal or interest on a loan, the same section also provides that “default includes ‘other obligations to the Administration’ as another ground independent from the financial provisions.”“The 2015 Financial Assistance Contract (FAC) memorializes those obligations both financial and technical. In fact, that very document notes that any failure to deliver or comply with any obligation, promise or covenant is a situation of breach and default. Thus, for Mr. Daluz and company to claim that default ONLY pertains to loans is merely their own interpretation that they are desperately peddling to the public, and we fear, to the governor and mayors,” Salonga said.“The default on the part of MCWD pertains to its obligations under the FAC between MCWD and LWUA, wherein MCWD committed to perform the following:1. To comply with the provisions of PD 198 or other amendatory decrees, acts, or laws, and the rules, regulations, and standards established by LWUA. 2. To establish a leakage control program. within one year from the date of the FAC. Said program will identify the principal causes of water losses in MCWD, identify its precise location, and establish a priority schedule to minimize such losses. The leakage control program will establish and systematically maintain a record of its transmission and distribution systems and will develop procedures for the regular inspection and repair of distribution mains and service connections to achieve a water loss position that is satisfactory to LWUA. 3. To consult LWUA before it appoints or makes permanent its General Manager, whose appointment shall be subject to confirmation of LWUA. “The above violations constitute default on the part of MCWD under the 2015 FAC.”Furthermore, he said MCWD had a high NRW (non-revenue water), which had no marked improvement from year 2020 to 2022. The consistent rise in its NRW during this period resulted in an annual loss on revenue by an average of at least P117.759 million. “MCWD’s NRW steadily increased from 20.34 million cu.m. in 2020 (with a 25.26 percent NRW), to 24.542 million cu.m in 2021 (29.04 percent NRW), and 29.481 million cu. m in 2022 (32.67 percent NRW)” when, in fact, Salonga said, MCWD had committed to a 15 percent NRW rate for 2023, which it failed to achieve. From the FAC signing, MCWD has yet to come up with the measures, plans and results it had committed in the deal, Salonga said.BankruptAnother reason for the LWUA action of suspending the Daluz-led board is that “at the rate the procurement is going, at the prices they are contracting, LWUA fears that MCWD as a GOCC (government owned and controlled corporation) is going to go bankrupt soon.”The FAC also gives LWUA multiple options to address the violations of MCWD. “The preventive suspension of the members of the MCWD board was a tame response on the part of LWUA and merely a preliminary step to investigate the violations of the FAC,” he said. Due processSalonga said due process was complied with, as it provided the suspended MCWD board multiple opportunities to respond to the violations “through the issuances of the show cause order and final demand letter dated 20 March 2024, and 03 April 2024, respectively. The suspended MCWD failed to respond, and thereby deemed to have waived their right to be heard prior to the remedial actions of LWUA.”He said LWUA is performing its mandate under PD 198 by implementing the FAC to ensure the prudent use of public funds and the provision of basic services to the people. He asked the local chief executives of Cebu to reconsider their position “upon a careful study of the full state of facts.”“At this time where El Niño is present and no infrastructure work can be done due to strained political and community relations, there is no reason why LWUA should not act in the most expedient manner,” Salonga said. / EHP, AML, JJL, CTL How do I bet on horse racing in the Philippines?. here is how to register at an online casino site in the Philippines:

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THE Archdiocese of Caceres lost and gained an archbishop on Thursday, February 22, 2024, with the retirement of Rolando Tria Tirona and the appointment of Rex Andrew Alarcon. In a report by CBCP News, Pope Francis has appointed Daet Bishop Rex Andrew Alarcon as the new archbishop of Caceres. "As archbishop of Caceres, Alarcon will oversee the pastoral care of Catholics in Naga City, considered the economic, cultural, educational, and religious center of the Bicol Region," said CBCP News. Alarcon will be succeeding Tirona, who retired at the age of 77."Tirona has led the archdiocese since November 2012," said the official news agency of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Alarcon was born in Daet, Camarines Norte on August 6, 1970, and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Caceres on November 9, 1996. Before becoming a bishop, the 53-year-old led the Bicol Association of Catholic Schools and served as the president of the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP).On January 2, 2019, the Vatican appointed him as the bishop of Daet. Within the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Alarcon currently serves as the chairman of the Episcopal Commission on Youth. (HDT/SunStar Philippines) What are the common gambling games in the Philippines? . It’s always a good idea to take your time and make sure you’ve found the best online casino in the Philippines on the online gambling market that can give you what you want.

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IN THE continuing struggle for control over the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD), the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA)-installed officer-in-charge (OIC), John Dx Lapid, was barred from entering the MCWD office building in downtown Cebu City on Monday morning, while on the same day Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and seven mayors expressed their support for the MCWD officials who had been suspended by the LWUA.Lapid was able to enter only after general manger Edgar Donoso, the person whom Lapid was supposed to replace, issued a memorandum at 12:32 p.m. allowing Lapid to enter and to report to his post as division manager for customer care, but not as OIC.Lapid had been outside the MCWD building since 5:59 a.m. Lapid said the LWUA had instructed him not to leave the entrance of the basement parking of the MCWD building.Upon hearing of his plight, Cebu City Administrator Collin Rosell, along with City Budget Officer Jerone Castillo and City Legal Officer Carlo Vincent Gimena, arrived at the MCWD office to support Lapid in his appointment as OIC general manager.The LWUA appointed Lapid following its suspension of Donoso for 90 days last Friday, April 12. When Lapid finally entered the MCWD building, he called for a general assembly on the eighth floor. But only a few employees showed up.Lapid and the city officials went to the fifth floor to Donoso’s office, where a short confrontation occurred.MCWD secretary Jodelyn May Seno asked Rosell and Castillo to leave because they were city employees. The two ignored her, arguing that she had already been suspended by the LWUA.Members of the interim board installed by LWUA also arrived during the confrontation.Also present were Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO) head Harold Alcontin and Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office head Reymarr Hijara.At least 90 personnel from Task Force Kasaligan, along with CCDRRMO personnel, were deployed outside and inside the MCWD building.No entryDuring a press conference on Monday, MCWD chairman Jose Daluz III said they drafted a resolution barring Lapid and the interim board from the MCWD building.He said it was similar to the resolution Lapid started drafting to ban him, Donoso and the rest of his board, meaning Miguelito Pato and Seno, from entering.Daluz reiterated that the LWUA’s March 15 intervention that saw him, Pato and Seno suspended for six months, was illegal, arguing that it could only intervene if the MCWD defaulted financially on its loan, which it did not.“We only owe (LWUA) P13 million. We pay P65,000 every month, non-bearing interest. And we pay in advance,” he said in Cebuano.Daluz said the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel’s (OGCC) opinion regarding the LWUA’s actions was clear that LWUA could only intervene if there was a loan default. He said the LWUA did not abide by the OGCC’s opinion, as it had earlier promised.ResignDaluz also encouraged Lapid to resign from his post to show “decency,” saying that his acceptance of the OIC position was an act of “insubordination” towards his bosses.“I won’t resign,” Lapid responded.Lapid said he is a regular employee of the water district, adding that if they give him a show cause order he will answer it.He said if they fire him, then he will see what will happen.“I am not afraid because I firmly stand by my conviction that the LWUA has jurisdiction over a water district, not just MCWD, but all water districts,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English.Lapid said the LWUA’s suspension of Donoso and the Daluz-led board was part of the due process.“Nibarog ta for the water district para mahuman ni tanan problema (I stood up for the water district so all these problems would end),” he said, referring to the struggle for control of MCWD.Donoso said he did not receive a copy of his suspension order.He also questioned why he was not afforded due time to explain his side.Donoso said the respect and hospitality they gave to LWUA have reached their limits.He reiterated that the LWUA’s takeover was unfounded and without due process.Employees, mayors back DaluzMeanwhile, Sammy Suson, president of the MCWD employees’ union with 583 members, said they do not support Lapid’s appointment as OIC general manager.“We will not recognize the intervention of the LWUA,” Suson said.Daniel Lim Jr., president of the non-regular employees’ union with 100 members, echoed his sentiment.Some local chief executives in Metro Cebu also expressed their support for the Daluz-led board and Donoso.Daluz, Donoso, Seno and suspended board vice chairman Pato met with Consolacion Mayor Teresa Alegado, Compostela Mayor Felijur Quiño, Cordova Mayor Cesar Suan, Liloan Mayor Aljew Frasco, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia at the Capitol on Monday.During a press conference at the Capitol, the governor said the LWUA’s intervention was untimely, creating confusion among employees and consumers as the province faces the effects of the El Niño phenomenon. She said she had brokered an agreement between both parties that they must adhere to the legal opinion of the OGCC, which was released last April 2. Garcia said the LWUA misinterpreted the OGCC’s opinion in its favor, and pushed through with its partial intervention. She said if LWUA insists on interfering in the local water district, she may be forced to invoke Section 16 of Republic Act 7162, or the “General Welfare” clause of the Local Government Code, to ensure the status quo at the MCWD.“I may call on government agency or uniformed personnel to see to it that the General Welfare Board of the constituent of Cebu will be upheld and law will be upheld because all of us took a solemn oath to that,” Garcia said. The mayors backed Garcia’s statement, arguing that changing the administration of a government agency that serves water during a dry spell was unnecessary. The MCWD’s franchise area includes the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Talisay, and the municipalities of Consolacion, Compostela, Cordova and Liloan. The mayors also condemned LWUA’s partial intervention as unlawful due to its invalid reasons and not following the OGCC opinion. Members of the Provincial Board (PB) and Daanbantayan Mayor Sun Shimura, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, were also at the meeting to support the Daluz-led board and Donoso.Garcia said the PB will pass a resolution to support the mayors’ plea. The LWUA suspended Daluz, Pato and Seno for six months starting March 15, to give way for its investigation on several issues at the MCWD. It suspended Donoso last April 12 for 90 days for continuing to defy the interim board’s request to turn over documents on MCWD’s transactions and failing to respond to a five-day notice to explain his decision. Gwen vs. RamaThis is not the first time that the governor has backed officials and agencies that are at odds with the Cebu City Government.Garcia also supported the Cebu Port Authority, and called out the City for ignoring the port authority’s territorial jurisdiction.Earlier in the year, she and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama also disagreed on the implementation of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit project, which resulted in the mayor filing an administrative case against Garcia for “meddling” in the city’s project.Garcia had issued a cease and desist order against the contractor to stop the construction of a bus station near the Capitol building due to lack of a permit related to heritage zones.As for the conflict at the MCWD, it started when Rama fired the Daluz-led board. Daluz had said he would opt to wait for the LWUA’s intervention on the matter and abide by the agency’s order. But last March 15, when the LWUA informed Daluz and Donoso that it would intervene in the water district for six months and appoint an interim board to replace the Daluz-led board, Donoso wrote the OGCC for its opinion on the matter. When the OGCC released its opinion, the LWUA and Daluz interpreted it differently in their favor. LWUA speaks outIn a statement late Monday, LWUA Administrator Jose Moises Salonga said that although the OGCC’s opinion cited Section 61 of Presidential Decree 198 (Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973), which talks of default in terms of payment of the principal or interest on a loan, the same section also provides that “default includes ‘other obligations to the Administration’ as another ground independent from the financial provisions.”“The 2015 Financial Assistance Contract (FAC) memorializes those obligations both financial and technical. In fact, that very document notes that any failure to deliver or comply with any obligation, promise or covenant is a situation of breach and default. Thus, for Mr. Daluz and company to claim that default ONLY pertains to loans is merely their own interpretation that they are desperately peddling to the public, and we fear, to the governor and mayors,” Salonga said.“The default on the part of MCWD pertains to its obligations under the FAC between MCWD and LWUA, wherein MCWD committed to perform the following:1. To comply with the provisions of PD 198 or other amendatory decrees, acts, or laws, and the rules, regulations, and standards established by LWUA. 2. To establish a leakage control program. within one year from the date of the FAC. Said program will identify the principal causes of water losses in MCWD, identify its precise location, and establish a priority schedule to minimize such losses. The leakage control program will establish and systematically maintain a record of its transmission and distribution systems and will develop procedures for the regular inspection and repair of distribution mains and service connections to achieve a water loss position that is satisfactory to LWUA. 3. To consult LWUA before it appoints or makes permanent its General Manager, whose appointment shall be subject to confirmation of LWUA. “The above violations constitute default on the part of MCWD under the 2015 FAC.”Furthermore, he said MCWD had a high NRW (non-revenue water), which had no marked improvement from year 2020 to 2022. The consistent rise in its NRW during this period resulted in an annual loss on revenue by an average of at least P117.759 million. “MCWD’s NRW steadily increased from 20.34 million cu.m. in 2020 (with a 25.26 percent NRW), to 24.542 million cu.m in 2021 (29.04 percent NRW), and 29.481 million cu. m in 2022 (32.67 percent NRW)” when, in fact, Salonga said, MCWD had committed to a 15 percent NRW rate for 2023, which it failed to achieve. From the FAC signing, MCWD has yet to come up with the measures, plans and results it had committed in the deal, Salonga said.BankruptAnother reason for the LWUA action of suspending the Daluz-led board is that “at the rate the procurement is going, at the prices they are contracting, LWUA fears that MCWD as a GOCC (government owned and controlled corporation) is going to go bankrupt soon.”The FAC also gives LWUA multiple options to address the violations of MCWD. “The preventive suspension of the members of the MCWD board was a tame response on the part of LWUA and merely a preliminary step to investigate the violations of the FAC,” he said. Due processSalonga said due process was complied with, as it provided the suspended MCWD board multiple opportunities to respond to the violations “through the issuances of the show cause order and final demand letter dated 20 March 2024, and 03 April 2024, respectively. The suspended MCWD failed to respond, and thereby deemed to have waived their right to be heard prior to the remedial actions of LWUA.”He said LWUA is performing its mandate under PD 198 by implementing the FAC to ensure the prudent use of public funds and the provision of basic services to the people. He asked the local chief executives of Cebu to reconsider their position “upon a careful study of the full state of facts.”“At this time where El Niño is present and no infrastructure work can be done due to strained political and community relations, there is no reason why LWUA should not act in the most expedient manner,” Salonga said. / EHP, AML, JJL, CTL licensed online casinos THE acting general manager of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) will work with the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) while it is investigating high non-revenue water (NRW) and other issues at the water district.John Dx Lapid, MCWD division manager for customer care, said he will also formulate measures to alleviate the effects of the El Niño phenomenon during his tenure.In a phone interview on Saturday, April 13, Lapid told SunStar Cebu that the LWUA’s interim board informed him on Friday, April 12, about his temporary appointment following the 90-day preventive suspension of general manager Edgar Donoso. The LWUA suspended Donoso on Friday because he continued to defy the interim board’s request to turn over documents regarding the MCWD’s transactions and he failed to respond to a five-day notice to explain his decision. Lapid said the MCWD will provide the LWUA with whatever it needs in its investigation.“They are asking for signed contracts, pending projects, mga COA (Commission on Audit) disallowance, so mao ni ang ilahang gipangayo nga documents (those are the documents they are asking for),” Lapid said. “By Monday, I will be meeting the managers, the rank-and-file, and (I) will assure them that there will be no vacuum of power that will happen. Rest assured with our consumers that our services will remain. Walay mausab (Nothing will change),” he said.The interim board has requested for police to be deployed at the MCWD office in downtown Cebu City to prohibit suspended Donoso and regular board of directors chairman Jose Daluz III, along with vice chairman Miguelito Pato and secretary Jodelyn May Seno from interfering with the investigation and from pressuring water district employees. SunStar Cebu tried to reach Donoso and Daluz for comment, but to no avail.“They kept on insisting that there is no due process of what’s happening right now, but preventive suspension of our GM and suspension of our board of directors is part of the due process and they can find it in different jurisprudence,” Lapid said. Nothing to hide“If we are not hiding in the water district, there should be no problem at all,” he said. He said the dispute between LWUA and the MCWD BOD is “illogical” as the water district needs LWUA to approve its pending tariff rate increase application.Lapid said the tariff rates need to be raised because of the water district’s contracts with different water suppliers which come at a higher cost.“We badly need our tariff increase because of our new (water) sources,” he said.He said if the increase is approved, then commercial users will subsidize the water rate of residential users.“Mao gyud na ang design sa tariff nato sa (That’s how the tariff was designed at the) MCWD,” he said. On March 15, Daluz, along with Pato and Seno, was suspended for a period of six months in order for the LWUA-installed interim board to investigate issues surrounding the water district.But the trio has refused to step aside or to cooperate with the LWUA’s investigation.According to the Cebu City Government’s public information office (PIO), the interim board was able to pass the resolution suspending Donoso only after it was finally able to hold its first meeting inside the MCWD building on Friday.Gaining entry to the board room was not easy, as the MCWD’s executive committee refused to recognize them.According to the Cebu City Government’s report, Jorge Gabriente, MCWD assistant general manager for technical services, said Donoso had instructed him not to let the interim board enter the MCWD board room. But Gabriente later relented after a lawyer for the LWUA said he could face charges for defying them.SignatoriesThe resolution suspending Donoso was signed only by MCWD interim board chairperson Maria Rosan Perez, vice chairman Noel Samonte, secretary Anabelle Gravador, and member Rey Asterio Tambis, as fifth member, lawyer Manolette Fel Dinsay, was not present. It is not known when Tambis and Dinsay were installed as members of the interim board, as the LWUA’s order installing the interim board on March 15 mentioned the designation only of Perez and engineers Samonte and Gravador as interim board members.The PIO further reported that newly installed MCWD acting manager Lapid, a lawyer, asked his fellow employees to comply with the LWUA’s order and cooperate with the regulatory body’s investigation.The MCWD, under Daluz as chairman, entered into various contracts for desalination projects in Barangay Opao, Mandaue City and in Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City to each deliver 25,000 cubic meters of water per day to the water district. However, these were criticized due to the expensive water rate, which would affect the coffers of the water district. In a tit for tat, the interim board is set to issue a resolution to bar Donoso and suspended MCWD board directors Daluz, Pato and Seno from entering the premises, the PIO said. Last March 21, LWUA Chairman Ronnie Ong said the reason the regulatory body suspended MCWD’s board led by Daluz was so the LWUA could investigate MCWD for its high NRW, alleged failure to comply with procurement laws, and its questionable application for a 70 percent water rate hike. Daluz, Pato and Seno have been holding on to their posts even after Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama fired them last year and replaced them with retired major general Melquiades Feliciano, Aristotle Batuhan and Nelson Yuvallos last Oct. 31, while retaining Danilo Ortiz and Earl Bonachita as board members.The three, as well as the now suspended general manager Donoso, have questioned the LWUA’s authority to undertake the March 15 takeover of the board and sought the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel’s (OGCC) opinion on the matter which, handed down on March 26, was interpreted by both the LWUA and the MCWD as being in their favor.Following the release of the OGCC’s opinion, the LWUA’s lawyers last April 3 served the final demand notice to Daluz, Seno and Pato to vacate the premises of MCWD’s office and stop usurping the authority of its interim board — which was again ignored by the trio.The MCWD provides water services to the cities of Cebu, Talisay, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, and the towns of Cordova, Consolacion, Liloan and Compostela. (EHP, AML, CTL)

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IN THE continuing struggle for control over the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD), the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA)-installed officer-in-charge (OIC), John Dx Lapid, was barred from entering the MCWD office building in downtown Cebu City on Monday morning, while on the same day Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and seven mayors expressed their support for the MCWD officials who had been suspended by the LWUA.Lapid was able to enter only after general manger Edgar Donoso, the person whom Lapid was supposed to replace, issued a memorandum at 12:32 p.m. allowing Lapid to enter and to report to his post as division manager for customer care, but not as OIC.Lapid had been outside the MCWD building since 5:59 a.m. Lapid said the LWUA had instructed him not to leave the entrance of the basement parking of the MCWD building.Upon hearing of his plight, Cebu City Administrator Collin Rosell, along with City Budget Officer Jerone Castillo and City Legal Officer Carlo Vincent Gimena, arrived at the MCWD office to support Lapid in his appointment as OIC general manager.The LWUA appointed Lapid following its suspension of Donoso for 90 days last Friday, April 12. When Lapid finally entered the MCWD building, he called for a general assembly on the eighth floor. But only a few employees showed up.Lapid and the city officials went to the fifth floor to Donoso’s office, where a short confrontation occurred.MCWD secretary Jodelyn May Seno asked Rosell and Castillo to leave because they were city employees. The two ignored her, arguing that she had already been suspended by the LWUA.Members of the interim board installed by LWUA also arrived during the confrontation.Also present were Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CCDRRMO) head Harold Alcontin and Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office head Reymarr Hijara.At least 90 personnel from Task Force Kasaligan, along with CCDRRMO personnel, were deployed outside and inside the MCWD building.No entryDuring a press conference on Monday, MCWD chairman Jose Daluz III said they drafted a resolution barring Lapid and the interim board from the MCWD building.He said it was similar to the resolution Lapid started drafting to ban him, Donoso and the rest of his board, meaning Miguelito Pato and Seno, from entering.Daluz reiterated that the LWUA’s March 15 intervention that saw him, Pato and Seno suspended for six months, was illegal, arguing that it could only intervene if the MCWD defaulted financially on its loan, which it did not.“We only owe (LWUA) P13 million. We pay P65,000 every month, non-bearing interest. And we pay in advance,” he said in Cebuano.Daluz said the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel’s (OGCC) opinion regarding the LWUA’s actions was clear that LWUA could only intervene if there was a loan default. He said the LWUA did not abide by the OGCC’s opinion, as it had earlier promised.ResignDaluz also encouraged Lapid to resign from his post to show “decency,” saying that his acceptance of the OIC position was an act of “insubordination” towards his bosses.“I won’t resign,” Lapid responded.Lapid said he is a regular employee of the water district, adding that if they give him a show cause order he will answer it.He said if they fire him, then he will see what will happen.“I am not afraid because I firmly stand by my conviction that the LWUA has jurisdiction over a water district, not just MCWD, but all water districts,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English.Lapid said the LWUA’s suspension of Donoso and the Daluz-led board was part of the due process.“Nibarog ta for the water district para mahuman ni tanan problema (I stood up for the water district so all these problems would end),” he said, referring to the struggle for control of MCWD.Donoso said he did not receive a copy of his suspension order.He also questioned why he was not afforded due time to explain his side.Donoso said the respect and hospitality they gave to LWUA have reached their limits.He reiterated that the LWUA’s takeover was unfounded and without due process.Employees, mayors back DaluzMeanwhile, Sammy Suson, president of the MCWD employees’ union with 583 members, said they do not support Lapid’s appointment as OIC general manager.“We will not recognize the intervention of the LWUA,” Suson said.Daniel Lim Jr., president of the non-regular employees’ union with 100 members, echoed his sentiment.Some local chief executives in Metro Cebu also expressed their support for the Daluz-led board and Donoso.Daluz, Donoso, Seno and suspended board vice chairman Pato met with Consolacion Mayor Teresa Alegado, Compostela Mayor Felijur Quiño, Cordova Mayor Cesar Suan, Liloan Mayor Aljew Frasco, Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr. with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia at the Capitol on Monday.During a press conference at the Capitol, the governor said the LWUA’s intervention was untimely, creating confusion among employees and consumers as the province faces the effects of the El Niño phenomenon. She said she had brokered an agreement between both parties that they must adhere to the legal opinion of the OGCC, which was released last April 2. Garcia said the LWUA misinterpreted the OGCC’s opinion in its favor, and pushed through with its partial intervention. She said if LWUA insists on interfering in the local water district, she may be forced to invoke Section 16 of Republic Act 7162, or the “General Welfare” clause of the Local Government Code, to ensure the status quo at the MCWD.“I may call on government agency or uniformed personnel to see to it that the General Welfare Board of the constituent of Cebu will be upheld and law will be upheld because all of us took a solemn oath to that,” Garcia said. The mayors backed Garcia’s statement, arguing that changing the administration of a government agency that serves water during a dry spell was unnecessary. The MCWD’s franchise area includes the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Talisay, and the municipalities of Consolacion, Compostela, Cordova and Liloan. The mayors also condemned LWUA’s partial intervention as unlawful due to its invalid reasons and not following the OGCC opinion. Members of the Provincial Board (PB) and Daanbantayan Mayor Sun Shimura, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines, were also at the meeting to support the Daluz-led board and Donoso.Garcia said the PB will pass a resolution to support the mayors’ plea. The LWUA suspended Daluz, Pato and Seno for six months starting March 15, to give way for its investigation on several issues at the MCWD. It suspended Donoso last April 12 for 90 days for continuing to defy the interim board’s request to turn over documents on MCWD’s transactions and failing to respond to a five-day notice to explain his decision. Gwen vs. RamaThis is not the first time that the governor has backed officials and agencies that are at odds with the Cebu City Government.Garcia also supported the Cebu Port Authority, and called out the City for ignoring the port authority’s territorial jurisdiction.Earlier in the year, she and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama also disagreed on the implementation of the Cebu Bus Rapid Transit project, which resulted in the mayor filing an administrative case against Garcia for “meddling” in the city’s project.Garcia had issued a cease and desist order against the contractor to stop the construction of a bus station near the Capitol building due to lack of a permit related to heritage zones.As for the conflict at the MCWD, it started when Rama fired the Daluz-led board. Daluz had said he would opt to wait for the LWUA’s intervention on the matter and abide by the agency’s order. But last March 15, when the LWUA informed Daluz and Donoso that it would intervene in the water district for six months and appoint an interim board to replace the Daluz-led board, Donoso wrote the OGCC for its opinion on the matter. When the OGCC released its opinion, the LWUA and Daluz interpreted it differently in their favor. LWUA speaks outIn a statement late Monday, LWUA Administrator Jose Moises Salonga said that although the OGCC’s opinion cited Section 61 of Presidential Decree 198 (Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973), which talks of default in terms of payment of the principal or interest on a loan, the same section also provides that “default includes ‘other obligations to the Administration’ as another ground independent from the financial provisions.”“The 2015 Financial Assistance Contract (FAC) memorializes those obligations both financial and technical. In fact, that very document notes that any failure to deliver or comply with any obligation, promise or covenant is a situation of breach and default. Thus, for Mr. Daluz and company to claim that default ONLY pertains to loans is merely their own interpretation that they are desperately peddling to the public, and we fear, to the governor and mayors,” Salonga said.“The default on the part of MCWD pertains to its obligations under the FAC between MCWD and LWUA, wherein MCWD committed to perform the following:1. To comply with the provisions of PD 198 or other amendatory decrees, acts, or laws, and the rules, regulations, and standards established by LWUA. 2. To establish a leakage control program. within one year from the date of the FAC. Said program will identify the principal causes of water losses in MCWD, identify its precise location, and establish a priority schedule to minimize such losses. The leakage control program will establish and systematically maintain a record of its transmission and distribution systems and will develop procedures for the regular inspection and repair of distribution mains and service connections to achieve a water loss position that is satisfactory to LWUA. 3. To consult LWUA before it appoints or makes permanent its General Manager, whose appointment shall be subject to confirmation of LWUA. “The above violations constitute default on the part of MCWD under the 2015 FAC.”Furthermore, he said MCWD had a high NRW (non-revenue water), which had no marked improvement from year 2020 to 2022. The consistent rise in its NRW during this period resulted in an annual loss on revenue by an average of at least P117.759 million. “MCWD’s NRW steadily increased from 20.34 million cu.m. in 2020 (with a 25.26 percent NRW), to 24.542 million cu.m in 2021 (29.04 percent NRW), and 29.481 million cu. m in 2022 (32.67 percent NRW)” when, in fact, Salonga said, MCWD had committed to a 15 percent NRW rate for 2023, which it failed to achieve. From the FAC signing, MCWD has yet to come up with the measures, plans and results it had committed in the deal, Salonga said.BankruptAnother reason for the LWUA action of suspending the Daluz-led board is that “at the rate the procurement is going, at the prices they are contracting, LWUA fears that MCWD as a GOCC (government owned and controlled corporation) is going to go bankrupt soon.”The FAC also gives LWUA multiple options to address the violations of MCWD. “The preventive suspension of the members of the MCWD board was a tame response on the part of LWUA and merely a preliminary step to investigate the violations of the FAC,” he said. Due processSalonga said due process was complied with, as it provided the suspended MCWD board multiple opportunities to respond to the violations “through the issuances of the show cause order and final demand letter dated 20 March 2024, and 03 April 2024, respectively. The suspended MCWD failed to respond, and thereby deemed to have waived their right to be heard prior to the remedial actions of LWUA.”He said LWUA is performing its mandate under PD 198 by implementing the FAC to ensure the prudent use of public funds and the provision of basic services to the people. He asked the local chief executives of Cebu to reconsider their position “upon a careful study of the full state of facts.”“At this time where El Niño is present and no infrastructure work can be done due to strained political and community relations, there is no reason why LWUA should not act in the most expedient manner,” Salonga said. / EHP, AML, JJL, CTL How do I bet on horse racing in the Philippines?

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