Coastal municipalities in Philippine provinces

By Robert E. Roperos

BUTUAN CITY, Dec. 15 (PIA) -- The provincial office of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) in Agusan del Norte has urged the officials of the coastal municipalities in the province to implement coastal clean-up, in support to the conservation, protection and rehabilitation of the environment and natural resources as presented in the Philippine Development Plan of the Aquino administration.

Provincial Fishery Officer Ernesto Jamero recently said the province's lone city of Cabadbaran has already included in their city ordinance, directing the Cabadbaranons through the different barangays to implement coastal clean-up monthly.

Jamero added this will not only help in protecting the environment but will also give good health especially to all the people living in the coastal areas.

The BFAR official said all municipal officials should also craft ordinance to enforce costal clean-up regularly.


Regional Office of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office


by Jay Vincent V. Demain

A regional Office of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) will soon be built inside the capitol compound.

This, after the provincial government here gave its go signal by virtue of a resolution.

Through Sanggunian Resolution No. 290-2011, it allowed PCSO to occupy 728 square-meter lot adjacent to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan office which will be used for the construction of its regional branch to serve as its Provincial District Office here in the province.

According to PCSO officials, the agency chose the provincial capitol for its strategic location, accessibility to human traffic and cost-efficient in terms of lease found most advantageous to the government.

Under the terms of a memorandum of agreement between PCSO and the provincial government, the agency will lease the lot for a period of 50 years, renewable for another 25 years.

Upon the expiration of the agreement, the building and its improvements shall become the property of the province.


Baba Yap on Sports Development

City Councilor John Geesnell "Baba" Yap II delivers a message during the John Geesnell Baba Yap Habitat Village Inter- Group Basketball League. The basketball league organized by the Habitat Homeowners Association Officials headed Mr. Gorgonio Auguis Jr. , President, Isadora Suico, Chairman on Sports and Mr. Fausto "Argie" Astronomo, Co- Chairman. Councilor Baba Yap stresses the need to promote good physical and mental health through sports, which is in line with his program B.A.B.A ( Building An empowered Barangay Advocacy). Councilor Yap likewise extended his support by providing prizes, new basketball board and sports equipments for the league.

Government Should Stop Destructive Panglao Reclamation Proposal

By Sunday Post
 
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Bohol virtually "drove the final nail to the coffin" of the Panglao reclamation plan in a protracted battle by a proponent to rise above partisan consideration as the law-making body deliberated the project's viability in economic and political terms.
 
But all efforts of Noris Oculam, main player of the project and the man behind Oasis Leisure Islands and Development Inc. (OLIDI), came to naught when the highly-partisan SP wrote finis to his pet project. In his appeal to SP, Oculam sought the conduct of an environmental study to find out if it affected economically and environmentally all stakeholders in the project. Sought for his reaction, Oculam said it was unfortunate that he was caught in the political crossfire of partisan interest. It was widely surmised that what put Oculam in an uncompromising situation as he pushed for the approval of the project was his close association with former governor Erico Aumentado now second district congressman. In fact, the first order of business of the SP committee that delivered the "knockout punch" of OLIDI's reclamation bid, was the cancellation of the joint venture agreement between the proponent and the former governor who represented the province then.
With the fate of his project in limbo Oculam is thinking of resorting to legal means if only to redeem his pet baby from its death bed. In dealing the final blow to the project, the SP approved the three measures recommended by the joint environment-tourism committee contained in report number 2011-03 dated Nov. 29, 2011 during the regular session presided over by Vice-Gov. Concepcion Lim last Friday. It approved a provincial resolution cancelling and/or rescinding through the Governor's office the "Joint Venture Development Agreement entered into with OLIDI." According to the death warrant of the project, the same proposal "presents a clear and present danger to the healthy biodiversity and sensitive marine environment within the offshore area of Panglao Bay," Under the second measure, an authority was given to the governor's office to "withdraw the application for reclamation filed with the Philippines Reclamation Authority".
 
According to Board Member Abeleon Damalerio, chair of the environment committee, in his joint report, the SP also approved the third resolution "opposing the establishment of any form of reclamation within the shores of Panglao Island,". Damalerio, tourism committee chair Godofreda Tirol, tourism vice chair Romulo Cepedoza and environment committee member Dr. Beinvenido Molina signed the eight- page joint committee report. Board Member Gerardo Garcia did not affix his signature in the report as certified by stenographers Josefina Gulle, Diodora Acedo and attested by committee secretary Romeo Jaum.

Far from over

Oculam, in a phone interview Friday, said that the fight is not over yet, saying OLIDI won't take the issue sitting down. He said the move of the provincial board was expected from the very beginning. He added that he will convene OLIDI's board of directors to tackle the issue and take the necessary steps given the SP ruling.

GROUNDS

SP's junking of the proposed reclamation project was based on lengthy narrative based on legal, social/economic and environmental considerations as reported by Damalerio. Contrary to claims, the SP which described the project as "a juicy proposal," found that it is "grossly disadvantageous transaction since the province has "totally surrendered its environmental and zoning responsibilities" to the project proponent. In addition, the SP said that the province "will be incurring costs" that are not being considered by the proponent. OLIDI, SP said, "is not qualified to undertake" the project since it has no track record being just newly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with capitalization of only Php12 million.
 
SP also relied on the recommendations of the group of concerned Boholanos composed of "physical, economic, political scientists and legal experts," who also expressed opposition to the project. Even before the environmental or feasibility study could take place as requested by the proponent, they have this to say. "We are among those vehemently opposed to such reclamation project, knowing fully well the breadth of its potentially damaging ecological impacts. Its impact on marine biodiversity in the area, not to mention other unforeseen effects because of human interference with the natural sea currents along a narrow channel (in the site, the Panglao Bay alluded to above among our provisos, where said project is proposed to be located) are extremely worrisome."

On legal effects, the SP also argued that the authority given to then governor Aumentado "was only for negotiation." "No subsequent Resolution was passed by the (SP) before for the governor to enter into and sign the JVDA." Hence, it concluded that the JVDA "is unenforceable against the provincial government" and OLIDI "cannot demand from the current administration confirmation of the reclamation phase." SP's opposition to stop the project has reinforced the contention of Panglao lawmakers when the latter passed Municipal Resolution No. 140, 2011, series of 2010 on October 10, 2010, "strongly opposing the establishment of any form of reclamation projects within the municipal waters of Panglao, Bohol," considering that the area where the project is to be undertaken is "haven of coral diversity and a sanctuary of diverse marine resources. Earlier, the past SP ( 2007-2010) had passed provincial Resolution No. 2009-633, "authorizing the then governor Erico Aumentado to represent the provincial government of Bohol and enter into a negotiation for a joint venture and development agreement (JVDA) with the Oasis Leisure Islands Development Inc. on the proposed reclamation project, off Panglao Bay, Panglao, Bohol, provided, however, that the provisions and amendment to the JVDA as proposed by the provincial legal office shall be made an integral part of the same (JVDA)."

This became the basis of the OLIDI to pursue the project even as it is amenable for the conduct first of the feasibility study as required by the afore-quoted Resolution. No. 2009-633. Resolution No. 2009-633 provides Bohol environment policy should be the guiding principle in pursuing the project, including the province's commitment to growth and conservation of its natural resources and compliance with the relevant environmental regulations and other legal pre-requisites. Also, then governor Aumentado said in his letter-endorsement to the SP that "no reclamation activity will be commenced unless appropriate social preparation activities among the stakeholders and affected persons shall have been conducted.' He also pointed out that the conduct of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) must be adhered and Environmental Compliance Certificate issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Bad State of Education in Bohol as Legacy of Aumentado Administration

Bad State of Education in Bohol as Legacy of Aumentado Administration

The state of public education particularly elementary and secondary schools in the province appears to be in sad state even as local officials and stakeholders are largely relying on the national government for help.

The situation in the inadequacy of facilities and lack of funds and teaching force is still hounding public education in the province.

But the report of the Department of Education regional office did not include the true picture of tertiary level being run and funded by the government.

This, maybe, prompted the local officials with the participation of multi-sectoral groups to launch the First Bohol Education Summit held at the Bohol Cultural Center on November 10-11, 2011 in a bid to come up with a right direction and courses of actions towards common agenda in improving the education.

In his power-point presentation before the Summit's participants, DepEd regional director Recaredo Borgonia said that the division of Bohol still needs a total of 218 teachers; 230 classrooms and 71,857 seats. The same is true with city division with six (6) teachers and 18 classrooms and 1,883 seats still lacking.

The report of Borgonia, guest speaker of the Summit, however, did not specify how many classrooms and teachers in the elementary and secondary are needed to fill the gap.

Bohol school division is allocated a total of PhP2.3 billion or PhP2,387,779,000 while the city division, PhP170,401,000 for them to operate in a school year.

Like any other government agencies, personnel services or salaries/wages still got the biggest slice of the budget pie. Bohol and city divisions each has a total of PhP2.1 billion and PhP159,868,000, respectively. Their Maintenance and Other Operating Expenditures (MOOE) each (province and city) had a total of PhP95.5+ million and PhP6.5+ million, respectively.

The province got only PhP12,778,000 for capital outlay; lump sum basic facilities, PhP128,628,000; PhP14,126,000, school facilities; and PhP15,175,000, water/sanitation facilities. The amount of PhP611,000 is for regular capital outlay; lump sum basic facilities, PhP1,990,000; PhP724,000, school facilities; and PhP705,000, water/sanitation facilities for city division to operate.

The population in terms of learners of basic education, Borgonia said, reaches a total of 262,671. Bohol division's pupils and students totaled 245,574 (elem-178,159 and secondary-67,415) with corresponding total of 6,653 teachers. The city division has 10,431 for elementary and 6,666, high school and 457 teachers (268 – elem. and189 – secondary).

In terms of the number of institutional rooms, Bohol and city count for total of 6,294 and 421, respectively. The province has 1,060 total number of elementary (917) and secondary (143) schools while the city, 24 (17 – elem. and 7 secondary).

Drop-out rates in province's and city's secondary scored high with 5.63% and 5.33%, but very low in elementary with 1.90% and 1.31%, respectively.

In terms of teacher-pupil/student ratio, the province posted one teacher to 32 pupils and 1:39 in elementary and secondary levels. The city with 1:35 and 1:33 in elementary and high school, respectively, the report bared.

Anda, Bohol Best Place in Bohol Island

Anda, Bohol - Feverish preparations are underway as this cape town is to host the first international sports event --- international triathlon --- slated on December 2-4, 2011, said Vice-Mayor Paulino Amper in an exclusive interview last week.

In separate interview, municipal tourism officer-designate Arvin Deligero Rubillos confirmed this, adding that Timex company is one of the sponsors of the event.

Amper said that organizers of the big event have visited here to see for themselves and decided to hold it here after finding that the town offers the ideal arena for the sport said to be the first to be held in the Visayas and Mindanao. He was then reluctant to accede of the holding of the event because of lack of infrastructure and services. But he realized that his may be an opportunity as it will definitely boost the town's tourism promotion for more investments that eventually generate job opportunities.

What worries him most is that the town may not be able to offer and accommodate the influx of participating personalities and visitors due to lack of accommodation services. In fact, he said, some of the beach resorts here have already been fully loaded with reservations ahead of the event schedule. Some of those who failed to booked at the resorts may be accommodated in home-stay at some residence here.

The town located at the easternmost part of the province is home to several low and high-end resorts and scuba shops/resorts established earlier. Among them are Anda White Beach, Flower Beach Resort, Dapdap Resort, Anda Public Beach Resort and dive resorts.

The municipality boasts of its nature-endowed beauty in the kilometric stretch of unspoiled white powdery sand that can equal other places with striking rock formations, tranquil place for vacation and swimming, turtle sanctuary, whale-and-dolphin visits, rich manganese material deposits and recently, the Tarsiers. It has also developed La Manok island of caves and cultural heritage such as the old houses and century stone church and people's hospitality and values.

The municipal officials and townsfolk led by Mayor Angelina Simacio and Amper are rushing the construction of building for restaurant at the public market area and another --- Anda Seafood Market and Restaurant at the public white beach owned by the municipal government to cater the needs of the visitors of the event.

The latter Seafood Restaurant and cottages at the public beach is funded by Senator Chiz Escudero's pork barrel in the amount of PhP500,000 to augment the local funds. Amper said he is confident the construction will be completed just in time for the event.

Bohol Congressman Attacks Reproductive Health (RH) Bill

By JUNE S. BLANCO

Rep. Erico Aumentado (2nd District, Bohol) has exposed House Bill No. 4244, popularly known as the RH Bill, as unconstitutional, inherently infirm, and redundant as it is covered already by 15 laws and executive issuances.

The solon bared his strong opposition against the RH bill during his three-hour interpellation and debate on the controversial measure with Minority Leader Edcel Lagman, the principal author.

The debate between Lagman and Aumentado started Tuesday night and ended Wednesday night, despite the house rules which provide for only a one-hour interpellation.

Aumentado said the bill is unconstitutional as it contravenes the constitutional provision which states that the State "shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn – from conception" because according to scientific studies especially by the United Nations International Agency research on cancer by 21 scientists, contraceptives are carcinogenic –causing cervix, breast and liver cancer, and stroke also, among others.

He also said using contraceptives and intra-uterine devices (IUDs) has imperilled not only the lives of the unborn child but also puts the child at risk of physical deformities and abilities such as being autistic, Mongoloid, harelip, cross-eyed, bow-legged and others that place them at a disadvantage to those who are being born without contraceptives and IUDs.

Aumentado argued that the life of the unborn starts from conception, that is, the fertilization of the ovum, and therefore any abortifacient contraceptive that could cause the expulsion of the child puts the latter at risk of being expelled from the womb of the mother, and therefore violates the constitutional command to protect the unborn starting from its conception.

The other constitutional reason cited by the Bohol legislator as being violated is the provision on the equal protection of the law because the RH bill is biased against the Catholic's accepted birth management, the the natural rhythm method and the Billings ovulation method developed by John and Evelyn Billings with 99.5% effectiveness as validated by the World Health Organization.

Aumentado explained that the bias is clearly shown by the appropriation of ₱3 billion in the General Appropriations Act which would be the starting fund of the RH bill once approved into a law.

He debunked the claim of the bill sponsors that half of the appropriation will be used to promote the Billings ovulation method by citing that the proposed outlay supporting the bill and the government program on reproductive health, family planning, responsible parenting, and the overall target for population control is overwhelmingly for the use of contraceptives, IUDs and condoms which could only fatten the bank accounts of multi-national pharmaceutical companies.

He further said there is no need of depopulating the Philippines because according to the National Statistics Coordinating Board (NSCB), the trend of the population growth rate has been declining since 2000. In fact, he said, the National Statistics Office analyzed in 2007 that the growth rate of the country is projected to be 1.81% lower than those Lagman cited from 2010 to 2015; 1.64% from 2015 to 2020 and 1.46% for 2020 to 2025.

He also said the NSO study debunks the other claim that the average Filipino household size is 10 or more and will increase without the RH Law. He said the NSO data shows the average household size has been declining even without the RH Law. The household size in 2007 was 4.8% persons lower than the average household size of five persons in 2000.

A heated exchange took place between Aumentado and Lagman when the Bohol solon said the mantra of family planning has been dictated by the United States of America's program to underdeveloped countries as brought out by the report of then State Secretary Kissinger. The mantra on reproductive health, where no less than Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, is "Reproductive health necessarily includes abortion," and that there is strong lobby for the passage of the RH Bill into law.

Lagman, per records, vehemently denied the charge, saying that the bill is crafted by Filipino authors without any influence from any foreign power and that there is no lobby to speak of. In fact, he said bluntly, there is no proof of such lobby.

A passionate debate also ensued on the impact of population on poverty. Lagman contended that the Philippines' overpopulation is responsible for the country's very low rating in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Index (HDI) Report.

Danajon Double Barrier Reef

By: JUNE S. BLANCO

THE House Natural Resources Committee has approved the bill seeking to establish the Danajon Double Barrier Reef Natural Park (DDBRNP).

Rep. Erico Aumentado (2nd District, Bohol), author and sponsor of the bill said as a natural park, the DDBRNP will become a protected area.

But, the solon clarified, bill the guarantees freedom of legal fishing and of navigation at all times within the area except across established marine sanctuaries and fish pens or cages. For this purpose, he said, the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (Namria) is tasked to establish a 250-meter buffer zone.

It also ensures LGUs abutting the park of shares in future income as eco-tourism facilities shall have been established.

The Region 7 offices of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR 7) and the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) as well as Namria endorsed the bill. The committee chaired by Rep. Francisco Matugas of Surigao del Norte unanimously approved the bill, subject to the submission by Namria of the natural park's metes and bounds.

The provincial government of Bohol had sent Liza Quirog, provincial agriculturist and now head of the Socio-Economic and Environment Management Cluster, and Larry Pamugas, OIC provincial agriculturist, to represent the province in the committee hearing. However, they arrived after the committee approved the bill due to alleged delay in their flight from Tagbilaran City.

Quirog, however, said the province will submit its position paper on the measure.

Aumentado said the DDBR, being the only documented double barrier reef in Asia, deserves to be preserved and well-protected from illegal fishers and coral poachers because of its rich potential for food security and eco-tourism.

He said from 1948 to 1952, when he was a crew member of the fishing outfit "new look" in the DDBR, the 273-square kilometre marine phenomenon was one of, if not, the richest fishing grounds in the Philippines. He recalled that the usual catch consisted of the high class fish such as badlon, tangigue, mamsa and others.

He lamented that today, the DDBR is being ravaged by illegal fishers using dynamite, trawl, palakaya, and cyanide, among others.

And worst, he said, the coral reefs are being destroyed by poachers, of which recently, some P3 million worth of corals from Bohol seawaters were confiscated by the Cebu Task Force of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia in Punta EngaƱo, Lapulapu City.

He said there is a need to revive the Cebu-Leyte-Cebu-Southern Leyte (Celebosole) Growth Quadrangle for the four provinces to jointly patrol, protect and preserve the DDBR which is surrounded by the four provinces.

The Celebosole component is part of the provisions in the declaration of the DDBR Bill.

The DDBR consists of the Caubian Outer Reef and the Calituban Inner Reef, both of which span the seawaters of the towns of Tubigon, Clarin, Inabanga, Buenavista, Getafe, Bien Unido, Ubay, Pres. Carlos P. Garcia and Talibon in Bohol; Matalom, Bato, Hilongos and Hindang in Leyte; Lapu-Lapu City and Cordova of Cebu and Maasin City of Southern Leyte.

Golf in Bohol

BOHOL ASSOCIATION IN METRO MANILA TO HOLD GOLF TOURNEY
Atty. Julius Gregory B. Delgado

The Boholano Association in Metro Manila, Inc. (BAMMI), the umbrella
organization of all Boholano town and sectoral associations in Metro Manila, will host its
2nd Charity Golf Tournament on October 14, 2011 from 6 a.m. to 12 noon at the Villamor
Air Base Golf Course, Pasay City.

BAMMI, led by its president, Mr. Geronimo Ambe of Ubay, VP for
Comptrollership of the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (PDIC), aims to raise
funds for its outreach projects and social initiatives in Bohol. The golf tournament will
culminate with a Fellowship Dinner and an Awarding Ceremony at the Golf Course Club
House with the participants getting the chance to win exciting raffle prizes.

Ticket is at P2,500.00 which includes free registration, fairways fee, caddy fee,
snacks and dinner and a chance to win and drive home a KIA PICANTO CAR as Hole-
in-One Prize. For more details please contact Mr. Ronnie Ambe (09178065193) or Ms.
Snooky Paras (09178139452).

Bohol Island Like Bali of Indonesia

By PHOEBE JEN INDINO

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Philippines — Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim has vowed to support and give priority to the Tagbilaran-Panglao tourism plan, saying the province is positioned as the top potential tourism destination development area in the country.

Lim, who served as one of the guest speakers of the 1st Bohol Tourism Summit last Friday, stressed that tourism in the province is very bullish and that the department will help fund the feasibility study on how to further improve the current Panglao Airport, which will soon accommodate international flights to attract more tourists and investments.

He cited the upgrading of key tourism facilities like road infrastructures, sewage system, improvement of Panglao water supply which is currently a problem in the island, and other sanitation issues crucial in attracting investments.

"Improvement of accessibility, policy and infrastructure is very important in the development of tourism along with the creation of market competition," he said.

Lim believed that Bohol will be the next Bali where the influx of tourists is generally high. "I see Bohol as the next Bali because it has all the qualities of Bali with its pristine beaches, beautiful dive spots and rich culture," he added.

He also pointed out the importance of local government unit support in the tourism sector, saying that "tourism can't succeed without a good government leadership."

Water Problem in Corella, Bohol, Philippines

Like Cortes town, Corella did not agree with water compensation paid by service provider. Now, it is digging the dirt against the water deal with Bohol Water Utilities, Inc. (BWUI), which is extracting water resources in its back yard with a very low price tag.

After Cortes town annulled similar Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) over alleged "unfair" water transaction, BWUI is facing yet another legal battle over the same deal. This is aside from another case to be elevated to the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) by city government over the water bill collection that retroacts in 2006.

Sensing that the MOA is disadvantageous to townsfolk all these years, Corella officials filed Civil Case No. 7939 for "Declaration of Nullity of Memorandum of Agreement and Damages" before the Regional Trial Court based here.

Named respondents is the BWUI represented by Mr. Romeo G. Robles, senior manager in the said case filed by the Municipality of Corella through Mayor Jose Nicanor Tocmo, Felix Salang, Onesimo Anong and Domingo Curayag.

In their eight page complaint, the plaintiffs asked the court to declare the said MOA as "null and void and of no further force and effect." They also prayed for the court to order the defendants to pay "deficiency" amount of "P1.25/ cu.m. on the amount of water extracted from the six wells since January 2003 up to the present" and to pay the reimbursement of P300,000 and P2,000 for every appearance of its counsel in the hearings. Atty. Antonio Arabejo of the Arabejo and Mar Law Firm assisted the complainants.

Mayor Tocmo is authorized by the Sangguniang Bayan to proceed with the filing of the said case by virtue of the Municipal Resolution No. 2011-28.

The Resolution pointed out to get the fair share of the town contrary to the MOA. "The extraction/royalty fee paid by BWUI is grossly minimal in the amount of P0.25 per cubic meter which is way below the P1.50 per cubic meter as provided in section 3.b of Municipal Ordinance No. C-013 of Corella, Bohol."

The Resolution also accused BWUI of not providing an environmental guarantee fund to answer for the conservation and sustainability as a result of the underground water extraction.

Corella-BWUI MOA void?

The MOA disputed by the Corella allows the respondent to establish five pumping stations and facilities in this town in connection with its rights to extract underground water.

It also provides that "BWUI shall pay the Municipality (Corella) as a royalty fee of P0.25 /cu. M. For water being extracted less the free water to the municipality from existing five deep wells of BWUI beginning upon the effectivity of this agreement."

Aside from this term, BWUI will also provide free water supply of not exceeding 15,000 cu m. And in excess of this volume, the town shall pay the former and amount of P15/ cu. M. The MOA took effect on January 1, 2003.

According to the complaint, then Mayor and now Vice-Mayor Vito Rapal entered into the said MOA with BWUI on September 17, 2004, more than a year already following the approval and enactment (on March 17, 2003) of Mun. Ordinance No. C-013, imposing a royalty fee of not less than P1.50/cu.m.

The said agreement is contrary to the aforesaid Ordinance, the complainants stressed. Thus, the SB of Corella passed the following year (2005) Resolution No. 71-05 declaring the said agreement "to be null and void."

The same MOA "has no concurrence of the Sangguniang Bayan of Corella," said the complainants. Under the Local Government Code, local chief executive must secure prior authority to enter into all agreements in the form of a MOA and other similar instrument of contracts.

The complainants also alleged that the said MOA did not provide P2 million as guarantee fund for development of watershed in the area near and around the pumping units.

As a consequence, "The Municipality of Corella is continually suffering the degradation of its natural water resources as the establishment of the watershed in the area is stalled by the non-compliance of the defendant to tender the agreed amount intended thereto."

Rapal and Hamelito A. Quiokeles, vice-president for utilities of BWUI, affixed their signatures to the said six-page MOA as verified by Atty. Artemio C. Villas on Sept. 17, 2004.

BWUI's reply

BWUI senior manager Romeo G. Robles, in his formal letter dated November 6, 2010 to Mayor Tocmo, disputed Corella's contention that the MOA is inequitable and disadvantageous to the municipality.

BWUI insisted that the MOA "is still valid, effective and enforceable." The water company stressed that declaring the MOA as invalid by Corella lawmakers in improper since it is only the court "with proper jurisdiction can declare a contract or any of its stipulations or agreements as null and void."

But BWUI admitted that the MOA "may not have been formally concurred by the Sangguniang Bayan" and said why the lawmakers did not bother to question or "disturbed" it (MOA) for past six years.

"We could rightfully claim that there is nothing wrong or inequitable, as to the adjustment of the royalty fee to P0.25/cu.m. from old wells and P0.50/cu.m. from new wells of water extracted. The MOA therefore is consistent and in harmony with Municipal Ordinance No. C-013."

Cortes-BWUI MOA

In Cortes town recently, Sangguniang Bayan presided over by Vice-Mayor Danilo Montero passed a Resolution that dealt blow to water deal between this municipality and BWUI to provide Tagbilaran City residents with potable water to be drilled from Ohan Spring in barangay New Lourdes.

The Resolution, sponsored by Kagawad Lynn Iven P. Lim, has rescinded the "authority given to the Municipal Mayor Engr. Apolinaria H. Balistoy, Ph. D. to enter into a MOA with BWUI."

What prompted the SB members to revoke the said authority was the mere failure of the mayor to submit the draft MOA as she promised, said Montero. Montero and the six councilors voting to nullify the said authority wanted very much the copy of the draft MOA so that they can study and scrutinize it and be able to propose counter proposals.

He said they have been waiting for it (hard copy of the MOA) for so long since they approved the said authority last year, but to no avail until they only learned that the MOA is already signed by Mayor Balistoy without them knowing.

Montero's and the six councillors, however, did not say what are the conditions they wanted in the MOA.

Cortes SB wanted a higher price of the water to be extracted from Ohan Spring, barangau New Lourdes, Cortes since the proposed price tag is PhP0.25/cubic meter. Montero said the water deal is "disadvantageous" to Cortes.(RVO)