MNWD Board suspends GM
By Paolo Gabriel Jamer
The members of the Board of Directors (BOD) of the Metropolitan Naga Water District (MNWD) during a special board meeting on March 5, unanimously voted to suspend General Manager Virgilio Luansing I for seven days starting 12:00 PM on Monday, March 7 on the grounds of mismanagement, dishonesty and his failure to resolve the issue on employees benefits.
To recall, MNWD BOD Chairman Gilbert Albero, in a radio interview on Feb. 10, admitted that the mismanagement of the water district resulted in fiscal disaster for three consecutive years, 2019-2021.
He said “ lack of efficiency in the operation of water supply and depreciation costs of MNWD’s assets are the specific reasons for the net income losses incurred by MNWD.”
Albero’s public admission of the poor financial performance of MNWD was followed by the expose of Engr. Emeterio “Boy” Aman, who served as chairman of the MNWD BOD in 2021.
Aman slammed Luansing for misleading members of the BOD and consumers on the issue of water shortage.
He said Luansing misled the BOD that there was an impending water shortage within the area coverage of the MNWD to convince the Board to approve the purchase of a 5,669 square meter lot in Mabulo, Naga City worth P28.6 million. The lot will be used as site of the Bicol River Surface Water Treatment Facility (BRSWTF).
According to Aman, Luansing proposed the BRSWTF to address the water shortage in Mabulo, Naga City, and the towns of Milaor, Gainza, Camaligan, Canaman, and Magarao, all in Camarines Sur.
Aman said Luansing during the Reb. 18 board meeting, admitted that there was no impending water shortage in the water district area coverage. Based on data pre3sented by Luansing himself, Aman said that MNWD’s natural water spurces and pumping stations generate some 2.1 million cubic meters of water, while only 1.4 million cubic meters are being billed and used by its consumers.
Among the current members of the MNWD BOD, only Aman was appointed by Mayor Nelson Legacion in 2021. The four other incumbent directors: Albero (Business Sector); Agileo Michael Pauig (Civic Sector); Dr. Marilissa Ampuan (Eduction Sector); and Monina Lily Claveria (Women Sector) were all appointed by former Naga City Mayor John Bongat.
These Bongat appointees including ex-MNWD BOD Chairman Jorge Palma (Professional Sector) were the directors who approved the purchase of two allegedly overpriced lots, the one for the BRSWTF and the other for the site of the proposed water academy near the former Naga City dumpsite in Balatas, Naga City for P5,000 per square meter. Both lots are idle at the moment.
Broadcaster Joe Osabal, host of top-rated news and public affairs Asintado sa Radyo program over Energy FM 106.3, said the Naga City government in 2020 bought a roadside lot in Balatas at the price of P1,500 per square meter. He said he is wondering why the MNWD lot was more expensive than the one bought by the city government when the former lot was located far from the road.
As this developed, Aman said he lost his trust and confidence on Luansing as general manager. He should be removed, he added.
Meanwhile, Luansing was given by the BOD 48 hours to submit his answer to the suspension order and justify why he should not be removed as general manager of the MNWD.
The MNWD under the leadership of Luansing won for three consecutive years (2019-2021) the World Water Day Awards (The New Water Champions) given annually by the Local Water Utilities Administration.