Velasco: Putting lawyers in MWSS board was Duterte’s prerogative
MANILA, Philippines — Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Reynaldo Velasco said that the decision to place lawyers in the MWSS Board of Trustees was the prerogative of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Ito pa again, issue, kinekwestyon ‘yan bakit daw abugado (ang board of directors). That is the prerogative of the President,” Velasco said in a briefing on Tuesday morning.
He assured though that every single member of the Board went through verification processes by the Government Owned and Controlled Corporation (GOCC) and the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) to ensure that they are competent for the job.
“Lahat kami na Board of Directors d’yan, dumaan do’n sa governance commission on GOCC or Government(-Owned and) Controlled Corporation. So I’m sure OGCC, they have taken into consideration the qualification,” he added.
Previously, Senator Grace Poe took notice of the presence of lawyers — who may not have the technical abilities to fix the water service-related issues — in the sidelines of the Senate hearing on Manila Water’s service interruptions.
“Dapat talaga mayroong engineer doon, a technical expert who understands the situation, because if they’re all lawyers, wala silang gagawin kundi puro mga legal na mga bagay lang pero hindi yung mga technical na makakaapekto sa daloy ng tubig,” Poe noted.
According to the MWSS website, their Board is composed of six lawyers, a chemical engineer and two former uniformed personnel including Velasco, a former police three-star general who is also the Board’s vice chairman.
Velasco emphasized though that there are other offices in MWSS dominated by engineers — because these offices are directly involved with the engineering of the water facilities.
‘Pag sinasabi nila na engineers, hindi naman ‘yong Board ang Director ang gagawa nito eh. Meron hong isang department sa MWSS na panay engineers dyan, may isa dyan number one pa sa board, yung isa number eight,” Velasco claimed.
He also reacted to statements that the MWSS was doing nothing amid reminders by water concessionaires of the inability of current water sources to supply growing demands in Metro Manila, appealing for understanding as the dam projects were only started under the Duterte administration.
“So ito ‘yong mga ginagawa natin, ‘wag ‘yong isipin niyo and I hope you’ll understand, that to make a dam would take us about six to seven years. Ito ay naumpisahan lang no’ng panahon ni President Duterte,” he said.
The Kaliwa Dam, which government officials consider as a solution to the water problems facing Manila Water, is one of the projects the Philippine government entered through deals with China.
However, the project is under scrutiny, after opposition groups argued that several provisions of the deal are disadvantageous for Filipinos.
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