ROUGH CUTS| Tell the people this report is not true

WE ARE hoping that this report is not true. But if it is, then something has to be done to make a very important and a nationally well-bragged ordinance work as it is intended.

     We are referring to a statement made by Davao City Water District (DCWD) spokesman lawyer Bernard Delima during an interview with media that until now the Davao City Water Code Ordinance still has no Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).

     Really, it is one very disturbing report to Davaoenos, and perhaps to other local government units that have made the said ordinance a model for their own water code. Come to think of it that after several years from its passage the city has not come up with an IRR in order to make the local legislation effective! Yet, we have sung hallelujah to be the only city to have such trend-setting ordinance to be able to regulate utilization of local water resources ahead of all others.

     According to the DCWD spokesman, “the management of private water extractors was supposed to be under the Water Code Ordinance which grants regulatory powers to the local government.” He added that “since there is no Implementing Rules and Regulations yet for the local law, it cannot be implemented.” Delima added that “the regulatory powers are now with the National Water Resources Board.”

     The DCWD spokesperson also said that “the city government is trying to reconcile it with the national Water Code Law.”

     Frankly, we find this revelation by the DCWD official perplexing. After all those years that we have been bragging about the ordinance only now do we realize that it has not been used effectively to serve its purpose because it does not have the needed IRR? And the city government is still “trying to reconcile it with the national water code?”

     Pray, tell the people Honorable Ladies and Gentlemen of the City Council that this claim by the DCWD executive is not true. If it is, then you owe the people of the city an immediate explanation why the so-called landmark ordinance of the city, as what we love to claim, has not been crafted the needed IRR even after the longest period of its existence.

     Why, what is it that the organizational structures of the legislative and executive departments of the city lack if only to hasten the formulation of IRRs for such important ordinance as the Water Management Code?

     Do you Gentlemen and Ladies of the Sangguniang Panlungsod and the top guns of the Executive Department need to have some warm bodies to undertake the difficult job (if you may call it) of preparing the IRR?

     If the present plantilla of the city government’s human resources does not allow it, why not top the many consultants, or appoint some, for the purpose. We are aware that the councilors or their staff, and the heads of offices in the Executive Department are too engrossed in doing the job required of their offices. So, if they have to be plucked out from there to prepare the IRR of a lot of ordinances that still do not have, this could result to the disadvantage of the offices they are appointed to head.

     Again if this statement from the DCWD spokesperson is correct, then it is about time that the city’s executive and legislative departments sit down together and discuss the matter with some sense of urgency.

     In fact this is not the first time that we heard about the Water Management Code of Davao City not having its IRR. During the term of the late councilor Leonardo Avila, he mentioned this predicament to the media perhaps out of exasperation that the local law seems inutile as far as the enforcement of its defined regulatory powers because of the absence of its IRR.

     Now the same problem has surfaced again. And this time it is coming from a person representing the city’s main water resource distributor. And it is for us, more disturbing because it is tied with the time frame of the period of availability of the resources itself.

     So again, we are postulating our unsolicited recommendation, the same that we made right after the late councilor Avila’s lamentation. The City Council and the Executive Department must create, even on an ad hoc basis, a unit that shall be tasked to prepare IRRs for all ordinances that are passed by the local legislative body and approved by the City Mayor.

     And if the city is afraid to spend money for the salaries of consultants or new plantilla employees, then we suggest that it just tap the services of the City Development Council (CDC) which is a body long existing and whose main responsibility is to help the city craft policies on how the local government should develop economically and socially.

     This body, if only for it to serve its purpose, should be convened regularly. This time however, we suggest that the crafting of IRRs be added to the members’ responsibilities. After all, they are paid honoraria every time they meet.

     So, why not make the most out of them. That is, if the city really does not have such a unit in its structure, whose main task is to prepare IRRs.

     How about that Councilor Pilar Braga? We know that you are the lady who did everything in your power to make the Water Management Code of Davao City possible?

Posted in Opinion