Kidapawan water district gets flak for poor services

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 2 June) – For three days since Sunday, majority concessionaires of the Metro Kidapawan Water District (MKWD) experienced low to no water supply, which led them to air their woes on social media.

One of them was Judge Juan Alexander Yarra, of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court in Cities (MCTCC), who said that if it wasn’t for his position in the judiciary, he could have filed civil and criminal charges against the agency.

Yarra, in a Facebook post, said that several cases may be instituted against MKWD. These include prohibition with preliminary prohibitory injunction, temporary restraining order (TRO) and damages to prohibit MKWD to bill and collect until and unless they have restored their services, the judge said.

Second, he might file mandamus with preliminary mandatory injunction, TRO and damages to order MKWD to provide concessionaires supply of water as their mandate under Presidential Decree 198 or the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Decree.

Third, he might be pushed to file criminal actions for coercions or threat of disconnection should he/she fail to pay the bill.

Fourth, violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, and lastly, damages based on the Civil Code.

Yarra was one of the most outspoken critics of MKWD, being one of those affected by the lack of water supply. He, however, is prevented from suing MKWD because of his current position in the government.

On Thursday, the Sangguniang Panlungsod will also conduct inquiry as to MKWD’s alleged poor services.

One of the councilors who pushed for the inquiry was Lauro Taynan.

For MKWD assistant general manager Sandy Alqueza, the management appreciates critics like Judge Yarra and the legislative inquiry of the Sanggunian set this Thursday.

“Most of them do not actually know what’s happening in the field, but that’s OK. We got all the criticisms, and well, many of them really hurt us,” he said.

Alqueza explained that heavy rains since Typhoon Ambo damaged most of their watersheds, including the Saguing River in Makilala, Cotabato, which is one of their groundwater sources.

The agency recorded two biggest landslides – one last May 20 and the worst was on May 26.

The landslides, he stressed, caused high turbidity level of water supply that reached up to 2,000 NTU. The tolerable turbidity level is from 0.50 to 5 NTU. NTU stands for Nephelometric Turbidity Unit, the unit used to measure the presence of suspended articles.

He admitted, though, that the agency has only one filtration or treatment facility that can treat turbid water coming from Saguing River.

“The landslides almost caused our filtration plant to give up. So what we did, to save it, we put a stop to our system. This is why we have no water supply for several days now,” said Alqueza.

Also, they sent at least 100 crew to the area to do immediate repairs at Sitio Lapaan, Barangay Perez here, where the biggest bulk of landslides were monitored.

“They have been in the area for several days now, and the rains have not stopped. So you see, this is how difficult our situation is right now, yet people don’t understand and appreciate our efforts,” he stressed.

The Kidapawan City Government, for its part, has started to help the MKWD by doing water rationing in areas where there are no supply of water.

On Tuesday, they sent at least two water tanks, each with a capacity of 2,000 liters.

Each household is allowed at least two jerry cans of supply of water for their daily consumption.

The MKWD has also put up free water stations in at least four areas in Kidapawan where people can store potable water while repairs of damaged facilities are ongoing, the official said. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)