The senators are dismayed over the failure of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) to build a water supply system in Marawi City five years after the infamous Marawi siege, mainly due to the absence of an administrator who will sign the needed documents.
During the organizational meeting ng Senate Special Committee on Marawi City Rehabilitation and Victims Compensation, the senators slammed the LWUA following its admission that the proposed water supply system in the Marawi was still in the design stage.
“I hope you will prioritize water,” said Sen. Robinhood Padilla.
He noted that water was just in Lake Lanao. So he cannot understand why (there was no water).
“I just hope you can attend to this since water is very important in our (Muslim) belief,” Padilla said, adding that they wash five times before praying, and sleeping with their wives.
LWUA Marawi focal person Rodney Peralta attributed the delay to the revisions of the plan for the water system.
Initially, he said they planned to get their water from at least 11 deep wells.
However, they encountered problems on the right of way for areas where they were supposed to build the deep wells.
Due to this, Peralta said there was a change of plan– using surface water particularly from Lake Lanao.
But then, they are faced with another problem involving the Philippine Army who wanted free water supply since the area where they intend to put up the bulk water system was within their territory, aside from from a condition of only 10 years in a memorandum of agreement.
“We are still in negotiation with the Philippine Army. We have sent them several follow up letters,” he told the panel chaired by Sen. Ronald dela Rosa.
As a result, Peralta said they cannot finalize the design since there was no final decision yet on the location.
On the other hand, Marawi City Mayor Majul Usman Gandamra belied the claims of LWUA, saying the real problem was that up to now, the LWUA still has no administrator who can sign the needed documents.
According to the mayor, they had offer their help to LWUA for the project to push through during a meeting at the city hall. But the contractors said they cannot act as LWUA has no administrator who will sign the contract.
The contractors also said there was no mobilization funds.
The mayor also said no funds were given to LWUA because of lack of signatories on the documents.
Assistant Secretary Felix Castro Jr. of Task Force Bangon Marawi also said operation for the water supply was affected due to the absence of a LWUA administrator.
“Still, LWUA has no administrator so the operations of the office are affected. The power of an OIC is limited. If one is lacking the Board cannot function,” Castro said.