Ex-councilor slams move to review water franchises granted by SP

Former councilor Plaridel Nava (Left) and ILOILO City Councilor Jay Trenas

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

FORMER Iloilo City councilor Plaridel Nava said he sees no merit in the recent move of Councilor Jay Treñas to study and review the water distribution franchises granted by the previous Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP).

On Tuesday, Treñas passed a resolution seeking the study, review, and investigation in aid of legislation on the legality, validity, and the impropriety of the three franchises granted to New Earth Water System Inc.(NEWS), Manila Water Philippine Ventures (MWPV) and Tubig Pilipinas Group, Inc. (TPGI); and Prime Water Infrastructure Corp.

Treñas said he wants the City Legal Office (CLO) to conduct the review.

According to Nava, the move is a great insult to the previous council, emphasizing that Treñas should respect the previous council.

Dapat respetuhon niya ang previous council because of the assumption of regularity because he was part of it before,” he stressed.

Nava added that the review will create an impression on investors that the council has no solid and permanent decision.

“This will create an impression sa mga investors naton nga wala gali sang permanency, wala guarantee ang tanan nga i-invest nila ya kwestyonon mo lang nga kwestyonon,” he said.

According to Nava, the move is not legally meritorious considering that the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) has pending cases in the court against the city government for granting the franchises of Prime Water, and South Balibago Resources, Inc. (SBRI).

Ang akon let us respect the judicial process, may kaso na sa korte, ang korte lang na maka determine, whether or not ang aton akto before, is valid or null,” he said.

Nava even challenged Treñas to undergo a drug test.

“Siguro kung ako kay Jay Treñas ang unahon niya nga ubrahon, mapa-drug test siya, ako mabayad sang drug test niya dugo niya gamiton or hair strand siguro mas makabulig na sa iya sa aton siyudad,” he said.

To recall, SP has approved the water distribution franchise of NEWS, the joint venture of MWPV and TPGI, Prime Water, and SBRI.

The main water supplier in the city, MIWD has questioned the council’s authority to grant a franchise and filed cases in court against SBRI and Prime Water.

MIWD has been standing on the Opinion No. 18 Series of 2018 of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in claiming that local governments lack the authority to grant water and sanitation franchise.

The opinion also stated that the granting of water permits is within the competence of the National Water Resources Board (NWRB).

Treñas said the review would help clear out the legalities of the granting of franchises as well as guide the new members of the City Council for future decision making.

Bag-o gid sila nga wala gid sila nangin member sang previous nga City Council and ang pag-grant sang franchise if ever may ara sang ma-apply liwat in the future sa city gusto nila maklaruhan nga legal gid man ni siyamag-abot sa City Legal if mag hambal sila if it is legal and good then we move forward unless may makita nga irregularity,” he said.

While he respects the opinion of Nava, Treñas said the accusation of Nava and his challenge of undergoing a drug test is off topic. But he added that he is willing to undergo drug testing.

“If that is an accusation, if he is doing accusation well iya na diretso. That is very off topic, we are trying to work sa city council, we do not want to entertain ang mga tsismis and any other things. Well, if there is a need to undergo drug test then I will, wala man ta problema,” he said.