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The Metro Naga Water District (MNWD) is currently rocked with scandals involving the issue as to whether it is profiting or on the red, with particular reference to the question about collections generated from the yet to be fully enforced septage and sanitation fee. The controversy revolves around whether the collections realized should be posted on the establishment’s book of accounts.

Newly installed MNWD board chairman Engr. Emeterio L. Aman hit the hornet’s nests which will eventually uncover a sensitive concern. Determining the final outcome of any audit necessitated by the Aman expose might take years before it is clarified.

This is the lesson learned from the cases of former Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) top officials (People of the Philippines, plaintiff -versus- Prospero Pichay Jr., et., al, accused; for violations of section 3 (e) of RA no. 3019; SB Crim. Case no.0797 and Section 7(a) of RA No.6713; SB Crim. Case no. 0798 ), which for years had been gathering dust but only to result in the acquittal of the accused as per Sandiganbayan ruling dated March 01, 2021, that there was no sufficient evidence to hold the accused guilty of the offenses charged due to insufficient evidence and absence of conspiracy.

The lesson learned from those cases is those about to be appointed as officers of water districts like the MNWD need to be vetted meticulously. In this manner water districts shall be spared from scandals caused by the management and the policy making body.

Under the law, the members of the water district board are appointed by the local executive based on the outcome of the supposed consensus process in choosing in every sector a representative or member of the board of directors, including the chairman.

Among those sectors are Professional, Women, Civic, Labor, Education, and Business. Obviously the listing is indicative of haphazard study. For example, why should civic and women sectors be separated. Can a woman not represent the civic sector or can a civic sector not be represented by a woman? In the same sense, a professional can also represent the educational sector. Why separate them?

The topsy turvy situation in MNWD and perhaps other water districts needs an immediate second look to iron out or fine tune inconsistencies or duplications of functions and responsibilities. There is even a strong possibility that the policy making body (Board of Directors) is encroaching on management’s prerogative or vice versa. This is a very common practice in semi-government institutions that usually adopt the practice of quid pro quo.

This often happens in the hiring of personnel and may explain why according to Aman there seems to be duplication of functions viz-a-viz overlapping of job description of plantilla personnel as against contractual employees.

For a starter vetting the very background or qualifications of the water district’s officers is urgent. Preferably, MNWD should not serve as a tool for those hunting for fall back opportunities.

An inquiry on the qualifications or capabilities is necessary, given the information that the records of the directors and of the management have not at all been outstanding or impressive. In fact, their own private concerns are on the brink of bankruptcy courtesy of mismanagement, high financing operation and shaky investment schemes.

Such factors might be contributory to the bungled goings on at the MNWD and for that matter several other water districts, which have been afflicted by the political patronage syndrome.


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