By Marisol Bo-oc | 08:32PM June 15, 2023
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) asked the local government of Sevilla in Bohol for the immediate restoration of the dismantled water system structures at the controversial Bugwak Spring.
“…this office requests that the structures/equipment that were removed/dismantled be returned/restored in its original and operational state prior to its removal/dismantling,” the DPWH said in letter addressed to Sevilla Mayor Juliet Dano on June 9.
The letter was signed by DPWH-Bohol First District Engineer John Paul Gascon and concurred by Regional Director Ernesto Gregorio Jr.
“The Department, through the undersigned, is sincerely requesting that the return/restoration of the same be commenced within a period of three (3) days and that the return/restoration be completed within a period of thirty (30) days from receipt hereof,” the DPWH added.
Dano ordered the demolition of the structures of the Bugwak Bulk Water Project of LGU-Balilihan in Barangay Magsaysay.
The Sangguniang Bayan (SB) in Sevilla passed a resolution on Dec. 19, 2022, that allowed Dano to demolish the the “illegal structures”..
“In order to protect the interest of the municipality of Sevilla in relation to Magsaysay Water Source (Bugwak Spring),” the resolution said.
Dano said the structures were illegally placed without a building permit from LGU-Sevilla.
DPWH said the Balilihan Water Supply System Phase 1 and their components remain to be lawfully situated and cannot be removed without any lawful order from any competent court, tribunal or body.
“Failure to return/restore the structures/equipment of the Balilihan Water Supply System Phase 1 in its original condition will constrain this office to file the necessary civil, criminal and administrative actions against any persons involved in the removal of the Balilihan Water Supply System Phase 1 and its components in order to preserve the interest of the general public,” DPWH said.
In a statement, Balilihan Mayor Pureza Chatto said the LGU Balilihan has been patiently following rules and policies of national government from the very start of their Centralized Bulk Water Project identifying Bugwak Spring as principal source of water.
“It is sad that LGU Sevilla could not wait for the Final Resolution through administrative steps of national agencies concerned in the regulation and project implementation. They took the law into their hands and ordered the dismantling of a government project wasting so much public funds depriving the people of Balilihan the beneficial use of this state-owned, and state-regulated water supply,” said Chatto in a statement.