The Bacolod City Water District management will schedule a conference with the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel after it was ordered by the National Water Resources Board to cease and desist from operating its 14 deep wells in Bacolod City, Baciwa director David Villanueva said yesterday.
Villanueva said the Board of Directors will meet to schedule a meeting with the NWRB after the Baciwa management has conferred with the OGCC within this week.
In its order dated Nov. 10, signed by executive director Sevillo David Jr., the NWRB directed Baciwa to cease and desist from further appropriating/utilizing ground water from its 14 deep wells and to cause the closure and sealing of these wells.
The order said that during an ocular inspection conducted by the NWRB monitoring enforcement staff on April 3-7, 2017, it was found out that Baciwa is appropriating/utilizing water from its 14 deep well sources in Bacolod City without the benefit of water permits from the National Resources Board, in violation of Article 13 of the Water Code of the Philippines.
It said the Board issued a show-cause order dated May 29, directing Baciwa to submit a written explanation under oath, justifying the infraction.
In compliance, Baciwa sent its reply dated July 14, stating that most of the subject deep wells were merely turned over by subdivision developers to them, which upon verification, do not have corresponding water permits.
It was further expressed that Baciwa is collating the necessary requirements to commence the application for water permits for the subject deep wells, the order said.
Baciwa general manager Juliana Carbon had referred the order of the NWRB to the OGCC for appropriate legal action and remedies.
Carbon said that some of the 14 deep wells have application for water rights. The applications were filed in January 2016 and have been pending with the NWRB for about two years already.
They have nothing to stop since not all 14 deep wells have started to operate. Only six are operational, she said.
But if the order is executory, they have to stop the wells that are operating, and then file a motion for reconsideration to allow their operations because of public interest, Carbon said.
But if the six deep wells will stop operating, the water supply in Bacolod will be affected, she added.*CGS
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