TUBA, Benguet (Aug. 22) — The local government of Tuba, Benguet did not accept the reason offered by the Baguio Water District (BWD) that an unintentional error was committed in its water permit issued in 1992 for a water source here.
In its reply to the comment sent to the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), the municipality through Mayor Florencio Bentrez refuted BWD claim that there was an error in the domestic purposes permit over spring sources in Asin, in Barangay Nangalisan here. Pointing out the BWD application specified its use for the springs for domestic purposes, the Tuba government asked the NWRB not to approve the amended water permit application.
“BWD applied for water permit for domestic purposes” based on records Bentrez said in the town’s reply.
The local legislative body in an earlier resolution strongly opposed the amendment of Water Permit 13147 granted by the NWRB. The council resolution stated that Tuba which has jurisdiction over the area is processing its own water permit application for the use of its residents.
“The proposed amendment will prejudice the right of indigenous peoples of Tuba as a water permittee,” the resolution stated, and further invoking a Local Government Code provision that regulate the construction, maintenance, repair and use of hydrants, pumps, cisterns and reservoir.
The BWD proposal was to change the purposes for the water application from domestic purposes to power purposes. BWD through counsel Atty. Ma. Luisa Tenedero, alleged that Water Permit 13147 and two other permits 13148 and 13149, were issued for springs hydro 1 and 2, which are within a mini-hydroelectric plant at Nangalisan, obviously used for power generation.
While the two other permits were issued for power purposes, WP13147 was issued for domestic purposes, which according to Tenedero is erroneously issued. BWD in its comment to the LGU resolution averred that it was asking for an amendment to reflect the actual use of the water source for which the permit was issued.
The diversion from domestic to power purpose is a violation of the Water Code of the Philippines, Bentrez stressed, for which the water permit may be revoked.
Councilor Adora Pauz, who heads the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Tourism disclosed that Tuba is also planning to put up its own power generation facility for the people to benefit from their natural wealth which is hydro-electric power.
“BWD is not a property owner in Tuba,” Pauz said. She adds that the water utility used to give the municipality one percent of its
BWD used to have a contract with the Baguio City government for the management of the Asin mini-hydro plants, which it leased from Tuba. The BWD contract ended in August last year. # Lyn V. Ramo for NORDIS