Need to Establish the City Water Resources Board

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By Briccio Cesar Domondon

The Council Reports

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

WATER of adequate quantity and quality is central to the existence of every life form. The management of water resources is necessary in ensuring the viability and sustainability of a finite resource such as water.

The above are opening statements of the Water Code of the City of Baguio enacted in 2007 establishing the rules and guidelines by which the water resources of the city are to conserved, managed and utilized.

In this context the city council last Monday passed a resolution introduced by city councilor Faustino Olowan making the city of Baguio as an automatic forced intervenor in all applications for the issuance of water permits within the jurisdiction of the city before the National Water Resources Board (NWRB). In the said legislative measure councilor Olowan pointed out that under Republic Act 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991, certain national functions were devolved to local government units including the enforcement, regulation, policy making and planning functions in the local water sector. He added also that under the same code it is the shared responsibility of the national government and the local government units to manage and maintain ecological balance within its territorial jurisdiction and that the local chief executive is empowered to adopt adequate measures to safeguard and conserve land, mineral, marine, forest and other resources of the city, while the Sangguniang Panlungsod is likewise authorized to enact laws that aim to protect the environment and impose appropriate penalties for acts which endanger the environment. Councilor Olowan further emphasized in his measure that there is no provision under the National Water Resources Board or the Baguio Water Code that prohibits the city government from becoming a forced intervenor in all applications for water permits within the jurisdiction of the city of Baguio. He likewise reiterated that it is only just and proper that before the NWRB will issue water permits to applicants in the city of Baguio the Sangguniang Panlungsod must first be consulted on the matter and its favorable approval sought before the said water permit is issued.


Along a similar vein, city councilor Fred Bagbagen respectfully withdrew an earlier invitation for the city Assessor, Nilda Navarro or her authorized representative to appear before the council to shed light and answer queries regarding the implementation of the provisions of Ordinance No. 13 series of 2007 otherwise known as the Water Code of the city of Baguio after learning that the city has yet to establish its own City Water Resources Board (CWRB) as mandated by the said law.

In the said invitation councilor Bagbagen pointed out the need to conduct the legislative inquiry considering the provisions of the Water Code of the city particularly Section 22, Article III, title III therefor which states that, “All water sources and extractors for all water uses, including shallow and deep wells for household uses within the city shall, before payment of the 1st quarter of real property tax, secure a certification of annual verification and extraction from the City Water Resources Board. The City Assessor should update machinery information including shallow and deep wells of households. All water supply systems with water extraction components shall likewise secure a verification of extraction from the CWRB before the issuance of a business license to operate. In this light, the city is thus constrained to establish at the soonest possible time the City Water Resources Board (CWRB) as mandated by the local law in order to strengthen protective and conservation measures of the existing water supply in the city of Baguio.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 02, 2014.


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