By PR | 11:14 PM June 17, 2023
Gov. Aris Aumentado has stepped into the water conflict between the municipalities of Sevilla and Balilihan.
Aumentado has talked personally to Sevilla Mayor Juliet Dano and Balilihan Mayor Pureza Chatto on separate occasions to deescalate the situation after LGU- Sevilla removed the submersible pump and other components constructed at Bugwak Spring in Barangay Magsayay, Sevilla on June 9.
There were two separate meetings called by the governor on June 12 and 13 with concerned national government agencies and key capitol officials but separately attended by the two local government units.
Dano reiterated that they recognized Bugwak Spring is a natural resource that belongs to the State and should be shared to qualified permittees.
She added that LGU-Sevilla will not object to the restoration of the submersible pump and other components provided LGU-Balilihan will reapply for a water permit with the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) indicating that its source, Bugwak Spring, is located at Barangay Magsaysay, Sevilla.
It was informed that at the ocular inspection at Bugwak Spring that morning of June 13, where all parties were represented, LGU-Balilihan is amendable that the spring is located at Magsaysay, Sevilla.
The provincial government of Bohol is willing to facilitate the restoration of the submersible pump.
In the meantime, LGU-Sevilla offered that water from Bugwak Spring can be provided to Balilihan through the existing old water connection and a new mother meter will be installed at the Sevilla side.
The proposed signing of agreement between LGU-Sevilla and LGU-Balilihan with the Provincial Government, and the proposed activities to be done as a result of May 23 meeting, will be pursued.
A forum will be conducted in Sevilla attended by the national government agencies concerned and the provincial government to explain the issues surrounding Bugwak Spring.
It will be recalled that DENR Undersecretary Analiza Rebuelta-Teh presided over a consultative dialogue on May 23, 2023 at Panglao Blue Waters Resort in a bid for the two LGUs to reach an amicable agreement in view of Sevilla’s protest against Balilihan’s project at Bugwak Spring.
The said dialogue was also attended by the Regional Directors of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), their respective provincial directors or district officials, the Provincial Government represented by the Provincial Legal Officer, and the Mayors and local officials of Sevilla and Balilihan.
The DENR with the provincial government of Bohol, DILG and DPWH will conduct a joint ocular inspection of the structure which provides water supply to households of LGU Balilihan from Bugwak Spring;
The installation of a water supply project for LGU Sevilla at Bugwak Spring through the assistance to be obtained by DPWH to provide additional water supply to LGU Sevilla.
NWRB will provide assistance to LGU Sevilla in applying for a Water Permit for this additional water supply.
Sevilla and Balilihan will cooperate and work together to maintain water quality in the mouth of Bugwak Spring;
DENR with the provincial government of Bohol, DILG, and DPWH will support LGU Sevilla in formulating its Master Plan for Water Resources Management towards water security, climate and disaster resilience; and
DILG and the Provincial Government of Bohol will ensure partnership/collaboration among LGUs.
Power and water are the two flagship development agenda of Gov. Aumentado when he ran for office and he desires for local government units and private investors to have a peaceful co-existence when it comes to the utilization of water resources. (PR)