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ROUGH CUTS | How’s the proposed measure on the PES?

We congratulate our boss, Mindanao Times owner Willy Torres who together with businesswoman Joji Ilagan Bian was appointed director of the Board of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).
Well, we know both persons as owners of educational institutions and how they manage to run their schools at a time when the country was facing its most serious economic debacles brought about by the Asian financial crisis in the late 90s up to the early years of the 2000s. And lately of course when the CoViD 19 pandemic brought to an almost standstill the Philippine economy as well as that of the entire world.

In other words, both Mr. Torres, Jr. and Joji Ilagan Bian managed to have their schools and other endeavors survive the toughest of crisis to hit the economy. Thus, their abilities to be flexible in all kinds of situations are already tested. Their experiences, without doubt, will definitely give Mr. Torres and Ms. Bian to contribute the much needed inputs when they join the other MinDA board members. For certain the two can lay on the table valuable programs and projects that are viable and doable for the further development of Mindanao in the coming years.

We are also certain that they have been appointed to the position not because of their political affiliation but rather because of their known concerns for the welfare of Mindanaoans especially in the aspect of giving the education appropriate to the demands of the time from the current and incoming work force.
We can only hope that the work of the two Davaoeno MinDa directors will not hassled with politics so they can be more effective in attaining the objectives of the agency.


What is the status of the proposed ordinance in Davao City that requires households, businesses and industries connected to the Davao City Water District (DCWD) to pay the so-called PES or Payment for Ecological Services? The last that we heard about it is when proposed measure was introduced in the City Council by Councilor Pilar C. Braga and was subsequently approved on first reading during that particular session.

Based on the proposed city ordinance household water users will pay P.25 to the local government for every cubic meter of water consumed. Businesses and industries will be charged more at 50 centavos per cubic meter of water used.

From the time of the introduction of the proposed local legislation and its approval on first reading we have not heard of any scheduled public consultations if only to get the pulse of the people on the measure that will add more burden to water users.

We hope that the people of Davao City will one day not wake up with the biggest surprise of their lives – their having to pay any time soon for their water use in the guise of assuming their share in the responsibility of ensuring a continuous livable ecology.

Indeed this PES is another proof that the city’s legislative body only knows of measures that make the people suffer more before they can even hope to see the benefits such ordinance or ordinances are supposed to bring.

And once the Braga ordinance gets the nod of the Council and signed by the Mayor no one household or business establishment can ever hope to escape payment. It is to be included in the DCWD’s monthly bill to its consumers.

Once the concerned consumers skip paying the water bill they get disconnected. The sectors that can possibly escape paying the PES are those getting water from their own dug deep wells, and/or business establishments as inland resorts having swimming pools using diverted water from the rivers or creeks or directly from nearby natural taps.

And how would the proposed ordinance be treating DCWD and the Apo Agua Infrastructura, businesses that draw massive volume of water daily to satisfy the requirements of its consumers? The former firm pumps out immeasurable volume of water for it to serve the consumers’ need at a relatively high cost. The latter diverts so much percent of water from the rivers to meet the demands of the water agency to satisfy the demands of the water firm’s fast growing number of service subscribers.

Simply the industry that the two mentioned firms is the biggest destroyer of the ecology. And then there are large residential subdivisions that are not served by the DCWD and have its own water system. How should the Braga proposed ordinance make the residents of those subdivisions pay the PES?

All these questions can be possibly given light when the proponent of the measure will have conducted more public hearings; no, not the “table type” consultations where Committee members who are absent have their signatures in the attendance sheet and are able to collect their honorarium.

If possible such consultation/hearings should even be brought closer to the concerned stakeholders to ensure their active participation.


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