Tension at Baciwa-A A +A
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
TENSION flared inside the compound of Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa) Tuesday afternoon after the three directors who voted to suspend general manager Juliana Carbon forced their way in, prompting the employees to hold a noise barrage to protest their action.
Board chairman Lawrence Villanueva, vice chairman Lorendo Dilag and director Marichi Ramos arrived with their lawyer Leo Irving Sedonio at around 3 p.m. supposedly to hold the first hearing on the administrative complaint filed by Ramos against Carbon.
However, the gate they use as entrance going to the board room was padlocked and when the guard refused to unlock the gate, Villanueva’s driver, Levie Solito, climbed the gate and once inside, he took a metal pipe and destroyed the padlock.
A security guard tried to stopped him, but Sedonio also climbed the fence and helped the driver ward off the guard.
Eventually Sedonio and Solito succeeded in opening the gate and the three directors were able to gain access to the Baciwa compound.
When they arrived at the board room, the employees, including Carbon, started to hold a noise barrage as a display of their sentiments against the action of the three directors.
Solito stayed just outside the board room and watched the employees make noise by hitting water pipes.
Personnel of Police Station 1 arrested Solito upon the complaint of Baciwa employees.
Engineer Samuel Penado, assistant general manager for operation, Villanueva sent him a text message asking him to tell the employees to stop the noise, but he told him that he cannot do it because the employees were expressing what they feel.
Carbon said the noise barrage was a spontaneous act of the employees and they cannot be blamed for doing it.
“It showed how angry they are. As if these directors don't have laws and people to follow. They believe they are above the law and they are owners of the water district,” she said.
Carbon said she did not order the closure of the gate.
"It was padlocked because of the order of Mayor Monico Puentevella that they cannot use the said gate to enter Baciwa compound. If locked, they don't need to enter forcibly. They can call me or AGM Sammy Penado or the agency. But they did not do it. Those who climbed our fence will be held legally liable. Our employees will file the appropriate complaint," she said.
The three directors asked city police officer-in-charge Supt. Pedrito Escarilla to send them police escorts to secure them when they go out of the board room.
Escarilla and his men responded and assisted the three when they left the Baciwa compound.
For her part, Ramos said that nobody can stop them from doing their job.
"We were just doing our official duty," she said.
She said she could not understand why Carbon would resist the conduct of the preliminary investigation when she is no longer the general manager.
Ramos also said that since the security on duty does not have the key to the gate, Villanueva’s driver was asked to help him.
She added that the Local Water Utilities Administration has already appointed Mario Macatangay to be the interim general manager of Baciwa, and he is expected to report to Baciwa within the week.
Ramos also reminded the Baciwa employees that they conducted the noise barrage during office hours.
They should have done it after but then this is a democratic country, they can do whatever they want, she said.
But they cannot also infringe on their right as board of directors to do their duty, Ramos said.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 20, 2014.