Ormoc mayor stops ind’l estate from extracting water | Inquirer News
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Ormoc mayor stops ind’l estate from extracting water

/ 10:45 PM March 02, 2012

ORMOC CITY—The Leyte Industrial Development Estate (Lide) Management Corp. (LMC) has been directed to stop operating its eight water pumping stations for failing to pay around P93 million in regulatory fees.

Mayor Eric C. Codilla said he issued a cease-and-desist order on Tuesday because the LMC  has not settled its obligation for three years.

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The LMC operates the Lide Water Supply System (LWSS), with pumping stations and a distribution system located in Ormoc City and in Isabel town, both in Leyte.

The LWSS supplies water to two big industrial companies in Isabel—the Philippine Phospate Corp. (Philphos) and the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corp. (Pasar).

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It also provides water to thousands of consumers in Merida and Isabel towns in Leyte and nine of 110 barangays in Ormoc.

City Ordinance No. 149, which took effect in 2009, regulates the mechanized extraction of water in any surface and subsurface sources of the city. The city is imposing fees on water extraction using pumps and other equipment, beyond 40 cubic meters.

The fees range from P0.25 to P0.55 each cubic meter for commercial or industrial users, from P0.05 to P0.10 for institutional users and P5 per cubic meter for a volume of 400 cubic meters and above.

The LMC owed the city P93.075 million in unpaid fees from 2009 to 2011 as the records submitted by the LMC to the Ormoc City treasurer’s office showed that the LWSS extracted 17,000 cubic meters per day.

The LMC did not issue any statement despite repeated phone calls to its office asking for the company’s comment on the issue.

Codilla on Thursday said the LMC continued to refuse to pay the required fees. He added that they have no intention to shut down or inconvenience the company as they only wanted to implement the ordinance, which is applicable only to forced extraction of water.

Codilla explained that there was a need to regulate the extraction of groundwater so as to minimize threats of saltwater intrusion or sinkholes.

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City Councilor Jose Alfaro, the council’s committee chair on public safety, said there was danger of a sinkhole developing in areas where LMC had extracted water because they noticed that the soil on the ground had softened.

The LMC supplies 3,000 cubic meters from each of Barangays Salvacion and Sto. Niño, where the LWSS pumping stations are located, for free. However, the company collects P16 per cubic meter in excess of the 3,000 cubic meters.

But the seven other barangays in Ormoc City that gets their water from the LWSS have to pay the P16 per cubic meter charge.

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TAGS: Government, Leyte, Local authorities, Ormoc, water
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