NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Bohol approved on Tuesday the recommendation of the Committee of the Whole to close the case over a water dispute between the warring towns of Balilihan and Sevilla, all in Bohol.
“Considering that a case has already been filed with the National Water Regulatory Board (NWRB) on the matter and awaiting resolution, this committee, which has a role limited only to mediate for the two parties to settle the issue amicably, recommends to close the case.
Provincial Board member Nathaniel O. Binlod reported the findings and conclusion of the Committee of the Whole chaired by Vice-Gov. Dionisio Victor A. Balite, who presided over the regular session.
The water conflict between the two towns stemmed from the fact that Balilihan town sourced water from Bugwak Spring which is located at Sevilla’s side across the river without the imprimatur of the latter.
This prompted Sevilla to dismantle the said connection and source water thru water intake structures and a submersible pump put up by Balilihan. And the conflict ensued then.
The demand of the DPWH for Sevilla to restore the dismantled water structures from the spring seemed cannot be done as long as the error “in coordinates with respect to the Bugwak Spring, should be corrected first before the restoration of the pumps.”
The provincial board tackled the issue following the letter dated August 01, 2023, of Sevilla Mayor Juliet Dano sent to Gov. Aris Aumentado. The said letter was an offshoot of the letter (dated July 6, 023) from DPWH Regional Director Ernesto S. Gregorio, seeking the governor’s intervention for the restoration of water intake structures, submersible pumps and electrical cables dismantled by Sevilla to its original operational state.
And the separate letter dated 09 August 2023 from Juliet B. Dano, addressed to DPWH 1st Engineering District Engr. John Paul T. Gascon, regarding the letter dated 31 July 2023 received last August 08, 2023. The said letter spelled out findings of the Municipal Waterworks Board of Sevilla regarding the Bugwak Spring water supply, the committee report said.
In discussing the issue, Provincial Board Member (BM) Dr. Elpidio Bonita said that “it is premature to discuss the merits of the issue considering a case has already been filed with the NWRB.”
Provincial BM atty. Jamie A. Villamor also stressed that “SP is only an avenue to investigate in aid of legislation or in some cases to establish facts which may be referred to concerned agencies and that while we are doing our part to settle the case amicably, at the end of the day, what we are after is the general welfare of the people.”
BMs Dr. Romulo G. Cepedoza and Greg Jala batted for SP to wait for the decision of the NWRB on the matter.
BM Gloria B. Gementiza emphasized that “SP has done its part to settle the matter amicably, fully aware of the fact that it is beyond the sphere of the SP to decide for the two conflicting parties.” (rvo)