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Rough Cuts | What makes the Council sit on the MOA?

So it’s the City Council that is causing the delay in the establishment of a city septage treatment plant in Davao City?

That is, if we have to interpret and believe in the report quoting Davao City Water District (DCWD) deputy spokesperson Jovana Cresta Duhaylungsod.

A report published in local dailies quoted Duhaylungsod as saying that the city’s water firm “is keen on pursuing the septage treatment plant project but the proposed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the local government is still pending in the City Council.”

The DCWD deputy spokesperson was further quoted as saying that the septage plant establishment is in pursuance to Ordinance No. 0363-10 that authorizes the city government of Davao to put in place the Septage and Sewerage Management Program of the city.

From what we know, under Ordinance 0363-10 the city has commissioned DCWD to put up the septage plant and its management and operation shall be defined in a MOA with the local government.

In the report Duhaylungsod was further quoted, “We have been working this (MOA) out for quite a long time already because the City Council requested some changes (in the draft).”

If we reckon with the denomination of the ordinance it is very clear that the local legislative body passed it in the year 2010. And we can also safely assume that it has been approved by the City Mayor on the same year. So, more or less, the ordinance mandating the implementation of the Septage and Sewerage Management Program for the city is already 9 years old.

Is nine years not long enough for the City Council to study the contents of the MOA? Is that number of years, almost a decade since the passing of the ordinance, not enough to decide whether the proposed MOA will ensure that the interest of the local government is protected?

It’s been many years since the discovery of the heavy pollution of the city’s shoreline waters by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). And the EMB studies showed the condition has been brought about by the flow of heavily contaminated waters from the city’s creeks and rivers that are recipients of the discharges of the city’s residential, commercial and industrial waste water.

Lately, it was reported that there was discovery of the existence of viruses causing the dreaded and highly contagious, debilitating polio disease in the waters of one of the city’s polluted rivers.

The report added that Duhaylungsod mentioned about the readiness of DCWD to start constructing the septage facility and that the water agency can begin as soon as the City Council approves the MOA and authorizes the City Mayor to sign the agreement together with DCWD.

With the confirmation of the presence of polio viruses and the increasing level of pollution in the city’s bodies of fresh water as well as the sea water in the beach areas, we doubt what local government interests are the councilors wanting to further protect.

Is not protecting the health of the residents of Davao City a major way of protecting the interest of the city as a whole? If it is not, then what is that main interest the councilors are keen in protecting?

Again, the Ordinance denomination clearly indicates that its passage was done in 2010. So, three city administrations have already passed and three councils have gone over the proposed MOA. Why it has taken that long yet the MOA is still under study, according to the statement of the DCWD deputy spokesperson, is something that is extremely difficult to fathom.

Or, will the members of the City Council have to wait until many residents of the city will have the toes of their feet pointing upwards before they act of the proposed MOA?

Of course the people of Davao City know that the putting up of a septage and sewerage plant will result to additional overhead expenses for their family.

We are however, certain that it would not really matter to them if the trade-off would be beneficial for their physical health.

We hope the honorable members of the Davao City Council will view the MOA for the septage and sewerage management plant project on this light.

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