Sevilla town in Bohol removes Balilihan water supply system
TAGBILARAN CITY — Government employees of Sevilla town, Bohol on Thursday removed the pumps and pipes owned by Balilihan town that were constructed at the former’s Bugwak Spring.
The Sangguniang Bayan (SB) in Sevilla passed a resolution on Dec. 19, 2022 that allowed Mayor Juliet Dano to demolish the aforementioned “illegal structures” because they could not obtain the necessary permits.
In 2011, Balilihan town officials wrote a letter to Dano informing her that there was an ongoing project for the rehabilitation and construction of a water supply system.
Bailihan was taking its water source from Bugwak Spring with the diversion point located in the town’s Barangay Sto. Nino.
However, residents of Barangay Magsaysay, Sevilla town claimed they were not properly notified about the project in their area.
Dano wrote a letter to Balilihan Mayor Pureza Chatto requesting the latter to facilitate the removal of all installation and structural support constructed at Bugwak Spring.
In a statement, Chatto said Balilihan town has been patiently following the rules and policies of the national government in constructing the Centralized Bulk Water Project, identifying Bugwak Spring as a principal source of water.
“It is sad that Sevilla could not wait for the final resolution through administrative steps of national agencies concerned with the regulation and project implementation. They took the law into their hands and ordered the dismantling of a government project, wasting so much public funds and depriving the people of Balilihan of the beneficial use of this state-owned, and state-regulated water supply,” said Chatto in a statement.
“They could not wait for proper resolution despite the fact that Sevilla and its residents do not lose any water from the Balilihan project as there is still so much water in Bugwak Spring for them to utilize,” she added.
Balilihan crafted a 25-year Water Master Plan and started to develop the water source in 2020 after the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) granted the local government a conditional water permit.
Chatto said Phase 1 of the waterworks masterplan cost P95 million. Phase 2, with a budget of P71 million, will involve the rehabilitation of distribution lines from the reservoirs to the consumers’ water lines.
Chatto said Balilihan has secured clearances from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the District Engineer of the 3rd Engineering District where Sevilla belongs.
Despite its hard work and compliance with national government regulations, Chatto said it is Balilihan that stands to lose its water supply.
“We appeal for sobriety among our people. We will endeavor to settle things through judicious means with respect for the rule of law,” Chatto said.