NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
Amid the raging controversy between LGUs Balilihan and Sevilla over water rights over Bugwak Spring, DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga has replaced the NWRB (National Water Resources Board) Executive Director Sevillo D. David Jr. with Atty Geraldine DC Ramos as OIC and Deputy Executive Director.
Signed August 11, 2023, the Special Order 2023-505 was to take effect immediately and David will be reassigned as Executive Director of the River Basin Control Office (RBCO).
Other transferees in the NWRB reshuffle are Atty Archie C. Asuncion to the Office of the Director, Land Management Bureau and Atty. Juan Y. Vorpuz Jr. to the Office of the Director, Pasig River Coordination and Management Office.
David is known to have publicly taken a position that the LGU-Balilihan should reapply for a new water permit as its original application was not accurate as to its designated water source and its project not informed to the LGU-Sevilla.
GRAFT CASES FILED
Recently, the Bohol Clean Water Alliance (BCWA) filed graft charges against Balilihan Mayor Pureza Chatto and 7 government national officials: DENR Usec. Annaliza Rebuelta-Teh, NEDA Usec. Rosemarie Edillon, Senior State Counsel Rosario Elena Laborte-Cuevas, DOST Director Juanito Batalon, National Hydraulic Research Center Director Roberto Soriano, and ironically also included Director David of the NWRB.
NEW WATER REGULATORY BODY
Last April, noting the urgency of the water situation with the onset of El Nino and growing demand for water, President Bongbong Marcos issued an executive order creating the “Water Resources Management Office.”
This is merely a transitory office and will eventually be replaced by the “Department of Water” to be manned by an undersecretary under the auspices of the DENR.
This will take care of the management and regulation of our water resources, the water and sanitation sections, addressing growing water demand, effects of climate change (including El Nino), lack of infrastructure, and “inconsistent government regulations”.