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EDITORIAL: MNWD’S Systemic flaws

For a while the call for a realistic vetting of those tasked to handle the affairs of the Metro Naga Water District (MNWD )started to register its impact, with the rank and file personnel taking the initial move by calling for a dialog among them and the water system’s top-brass. The move intended to invite certain personalities, including the media and former officers of the water district.

But as the initiative gradually gained momentum, MNWD bigwigs including GM Virgilio Luansing and certain directors, poured ice-cold water into the idea and proposed instead that the event be conducted closed door, without presenting any valid explanation why those not within the current composition of the water district should be excluded.

The decision is pregnant with implication. Why? What is so explosive in the goings on at the water district? Is there something very sensitive that threatens the functions of the MNWD which should not be made public? MNWD being engaged in providing safe drinking water to its subscribers/concessionaires is morally obliged to be more transparent to the general public.

A closer look at the functions and divisions of the different bodies involved in running the MNWD shows the following: It has a board of directors mandated to perform policy making and direction, with the office of the general manager handling overall management and supervision, public relations and information, documentations and recording.

Several divisions form part of the organization handling commercial, planning and design, production, operation and maintenance, administrative, human resource and finance.

At first glance the organizational set up appears to be almost typical of a service-oriented entity. What makes matters eyebrow raising is the recent pronouncement by board chairman Gilbert Albero about the creation of a Management Committee (ManCom). ManCom is not duly reflected in the organizational chart of MNWD. What makes the creation of the ManCom necessary? Was the organizational setup not operating effectively or is ManCom designed as a sort of quid pro quo arrangement?

This is being asked in the light of the observation that the water district being engaged in providing the public critically needed services of providing safe drinking water, instead of being too secretive owes it to the consumers to render a periodic status report of its operations. Doing so is mandatory. In fact the water district even claims of being compliant in practicing the freedom of information. If the electric cooperatives conduct annual general assembly and even features give-aways being raffled to attendees, why can’t the water district do the same?

Before things become more complicated, efforts need to be exerted in order that water districts, MNWD included, should not crumble on account of a systemic problem.

Also of major concern is the fact that the water district already covers several towns adjoining Naga City. Such being the case, fairness dictates that the power to appoint members of the board be not exclusively vested upon the LGU Naga local chief executive.

Moreover, in as much as it has been the practice that several sectors are represented by nominees from among which Naga City’s local chief executive appoints, fair play demands that the towns already included in the MNWD be duly represented by sectors also, so that other concessionaires forming part of MNWD may have a voice.

It is high time to revisit the systemic flaws of the MNWD.


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