Marcos steps in to end water woes in CDO

Marcos steps in to end water woes in CDO

Marcos steps in to end water woes in CDO

AWAITING A DROP Residents of a village in Cagayan de Oro City wait for a water delivery truck for their ration on Thursday morning, just before supply and pressure are fully restored. —PHOTO COURTESY OF CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY INFORMATION OFFICE

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY–President Marcos has intervened to resolve the problem between the local water district and its bulk supplier that has resulted in a short-lived cutoff of water supply into the city’s pipelines on Tuesday.

Speaking to over 10,000 people inside the gymnasium of the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines on Thursday, the President revealed that upon learning of the issue, he immediately requested Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) chair Manny V. Pangilinan to restore water supply to Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD).


“Mr. Pangilinan had agreed with our request and he committed to sit down with your city mayor to put an end to the problem and ensure sustained provision of water supply to over 60,000 of our compatriots here,” Mr. Marcos said.


MPIC is the parent company of Metro Pacific Water, which has 95 percent effective ownership of Cagayan de Oro Bulkwater Inc. (Cobi), which supplies 80 to 100 million liters of water to COWD per day, catering to almost half of its service area.

Cobi shut off its valves around 10 a.m. on Tuesday, reducing water supply and pressure in at least 13 heavily populated villages of the city. The decision stemmed from its unheeded demand for COWD to pay it at least P479 million in arrears from 2021 to 2024 after it applied an automatic increase of P3.79 per cubic meter of water deliveries.

COWD has refused to pay the bill, saying it has not been collecting from water concessionaires the increased rate.

Next steps

On Tuesday night, Cobi restored the service to COWD in keeping with an order from a local court preventing it from disconnecting the bulk water supply.

Mr. Marcos on Thursday also ordered the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) to study the possibility of directly managing COWD’s operations to ensure unhampered water supply to the city’s residents.

In a statement posted on social media, the LWUA said its board would meet on Friday “to discuss the next steps we will take as regulating agency, and we shall address the matters at hand with extreme urgency.”


Mr. Marcos said that apart from assuring supply, there was also a need to fix an appropriate rate for the water delivered to consumers through the COWD.

“We will not allow that the people of Cagayan de Oro will be deprived of their right to have sufficient, clean and safe supply of water,” the President emphasized.

Reacting to Mr. Marcos’ speech, Mayor Rolando Uy said: “I deeply thank President Marcos for supporting our stand that public welfare must not be sacrificed in the ongoing dispute between Cobi and COWD.”

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Uy had placed the entire city under a state of emergency starting May 2, in anticipation of Cobi making good on its earlier threat to cut off bulk water supply to COWD.

TAGS: President Marcos, water supply

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