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Carmen folk press for free water from town’s own water district

OVER a thousand residents of Carmen, a municipality in northern Cebu, have gathered at the Carmen National High School gym on January 8, 2021, and expressed support for efforts to gain free water from the town’s own water district and against the water foundation.

The residents expressed support for moves of the town’s councilors who questioned the support of Mayor Carlo T. Villamor for the water foundation. This developed even as Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia went to Carmen town and showed support for Mayor Villamor.

Since 2012, the Municipality of Carmen, Cebu and CMWD entered into an agreement for the Bulk Water Supply Project of Cantumog-Luyang River. The MOA will give CMWD the exclusive right to get and deliver treated bulk water supply from  the Municipality going to Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD). Along with the Bulk Water Supply MOA, the Municipality and CMWD entered into another agreement for the creation of the CMWD Foundation Inc., headed by the Mayor that time, 

Hon. Martin Gerard T. Villamor as Chairman. In both MOA’s, it was made clear that the Bulk Water Supply source will only be the surface water of Cantumog-Luyang River.

The residents aired their desire to do away with the CMWD Foundation Inc. due to the alleged conflict of interest, lack of transparency and accountability to live up to its mandate, objectives, mission and vision.

They likewise object to the extraction of ground water without the Sangguniang Bayan’s approval. They prefer Provincial officials to leave residents to decide for themselves about the water sourced out of Cantumog-Luyang River without interference.

They supported the position pushed by seven councilors, namely Merian V. Buot, Jasmin S. Paden, Carlyle Allen M. Pono, Vicente A. Tacocong Jr., Manuel Mari A. Durano, Arriane B. Pono, and Remegio K. Benitez.

On January 7, 2020, the Sangguniang Bayan successfully override a veto of Carmen Mayor Carlo T. Villamor of a Council resolution and pushed for two things:

1. The CMWD will no longer pay the add-on tariff directly to the CMWD Foundation Inc. Instead, the CMWD will remit the money directly to the Carmen Water Supply System. The money will be used for repair, maintenance, and rehabilitation of the existing water supply system.

2. The availability of potable free water to Carmen residents for one year because of the illegal construction of deep wells and other violations committed thereof.

Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia also went to Carmen town the next day and announced that the Cebu Provincial Government will take charge of the operation and management of the waterworks system in Carmen by creating the Provincial Waterworks System invoking provisions of the Local Government Code.

The governor motored to the northern town and spoke before another gathering at one of the beach resorts in Carmen, Cebu as a show of support for Mayor Carlo Villamor. This transpired after the assembly of residents at the Carmen National High School Gym.

“Dili na magapos ang Mayor ug dili na nila magapos ang katawhan sa Carmen,” Garcia said during the gathering.