DOZENS of people from
Tuburan, Cebu held a lighting
rally in front of the Hall of Justice in Toledo City last January
22, 2021 in support of the petition by the Local Government
Unit (LGU) to rescind the joint
venture deal with SAVS Tuburan Water Corp.
The joint venture agreement between Tuburan LGU
and SAVS must be rescinded
by the court because the private company only wants to
earn money without investing
to improve the water system,
said their placards.
On that day, the Toledo City Regional Trial Court
(RTC) Branch 29 has scheduled a hearing for pre-trial on
the case filed by Tuburan LGU
against SAVS and its president, Arlene Villaroel.
Tuburan Vice Mayor Democrito “Aljun” Diamante said
that in the joint venture, SAVS
promised to invest about P500
million to improve the water
system which was used to be
operated by the municipality.
However, Aljun said that
in two years time, SAVS and
Villaroel just billed and collected payments from consumers
with poor water service.
Aljun added that SAVS
and Villaroel collected and
earned about P10 million
from the water system without investing a single centavo as
agreed in the deal.
As a result, the Tuburan
Municipal Government got
back the water system from
SAVS Tuburan Water Corp.
last July 7, 2020 pending the
court decision to rescind the
joint venture because the people were suffering from lack of
Aljun said that they are not
interested in recovering the P10
million collected and earned by
SAVS in two years. What is important is for the municipality
to get back the water system for
the sake of the people.
Mayor Danilo M. Diamante said the Tuburan LGU
has spent about P8 million for
re-piping and improvement of
the water system which used
to be handled by the municipality but was operated by
SAVs for years.
The P8 million water project was completed last December 2020 making water supply
available to the Tuburan consumers 24 hours a day.
“The people of Tuburan,
Cebu are now enjoying sufficient water supply despite an
ongoing legal battle before the
Regional Trial Court,” Mayor
The RTC in Toledo City
postponed the hearing for
pre-trial of the petition last
January 22, 2021 after the defendant, SAVS Tuburan Water Corp. asked to resolve first
its affirmative defenses to the
Atty. Donato Villa Jr. of
the Cebu Provincial Legal Office and counsel for Tuburan
LGU, said that the move further delays the case that was
filed on March 3, 2020.
Villa added that the next
hearing for pre-trial was rescheduled by the court on
March 12, 2021.
Atty. Rodulfo Dacalos Jr.,
another counsel for Tuburan
LGU said he hope that the
court will deny the affirmative
defenses of SAVS Tuburan
Earlier, Dacalos said the
court denied the injunctive relief, citing general welfare.
Villa said that the people of
Tuburan should not suffer for
SAVS failure to invest to improve the water system as it is
stated in the joint venture deal.
In the petition to rescind the deal, the Tuburan LGU alleged that in two years of operations by SAVS, from the start
until July 7, 2020, the water
distribution of Tuburan was
poor and the improvement
that was promised as stated
in the joint venture agreement
was never materialized.
Aside from the poor water distribution to consumers,
the water of Tuburan was allegedly positive of fecal coliform based on water analysis
conducted by Cebu Provincial
Health Office laboratory.
For his part, SAVS Tuburan Water Corp. president
Arlene Villaroel issued a final
demand against the municipal government to cease and
desist from interfering or obstructing company operation
Villaroel’s demand letter
dated July 3, 2020 was addressed to Mayor Danilo Diamante, Vice Mayor Democrito “Aljun” M. Diamante and
all members of Sanguniang
Bayan, the municipal treasurer and 42 barangay captains.
Villaroel clarified that the
joint venture signed on December 1, 2016 and concession
agreement dated April 25, 2017
between SAVS and Tuburan
LGU has not been declared
null and void and remains to this day valid and effective.