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No politics in bulk water project opposition – Ledesma

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Silay City Vice Mayor Thomas Maynard Ledesma has strongly denied claims that “politics” is behind the opposition of the P1.2 billion bulk water supply project of the provincial government of Negros Occidental.

“We are not against this. We just need to be clarified,” Ledesma said, as he pointed out that it will be a 38-year contract bulk water project.

He also clarified that “they are supportive to Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and everything.” But he stressed that their duties also is about the welfare of Silaynons, being their representatives in the government

An official statement issued by members of the Silay Sangguniang Panlungsod, a copy of which was furnished to the media by Ledesma, stated “As representatives of the People of Silay, we are duty-bound to extend with utmost diligence, all efforts needed to make the most beneficial decisions to protect the welfare of our people and our City, without giving consideration to politics or political influence, when our judgments require the enactment of legislative measures for the deliverance of our constituents from the harmful effects of natural or man-made calamities and disasters.”

Asked why they raised opposition only now, despite consultations to stakeholders, Ledesma said they were not aware of it before, as he further stressed that they are not privy to the project.

However, according to the provincial government, prior to the scheduled bidding of the proposed bulk water project set for next month, there had been a thorough study, series of discussions, consultations with stakeholders and even a water summit.

The municipalities of Manapla, E.B. Magalona, and the cities of Victorias, Talisay, and Bacolod, have already issued a Resolution Of No Objection for the provincial government to push through the bulk water project, except for Silay City government.

The surface water of the Imbang and Malogo rivers that are to be tapped by the proposed bulk water project passes through the local government units of Victorias City, E.B. Magalona, and Talisay City, aside from Silay City.

Ledesma said they are still waiting for a RONO from barangays of Hawaiian, where the HPCO sugar central, which also uses the Imbang river water, is located, Kapitan Ramon, and Guimbalaon, all in Silay City, before they will take further action.

In the same statement, the City Council further stated that they wanted clarification if the bulk water project will affect the commercial establishments and factories, the agricultural sector, livelihood programs, the existing Vivant Hydropower plant, as well its possible impact to the environment in Silay.

The council also wants the expert opinions of the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources, as well as Agriculture, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, on the possible hazards, effects, and problems the project might bring to the City and its people.

Silay City Mayor Joedith Gallego earlier disclosed that even sugar planters are opposing the bulk water project.

Ledesma said they were also told by the Silay City Water District that they have enough supply of water, and they fear that water rates may go up if the project pushes through.

Lacson earlier said that all the stakeholders, including the concerned localities and its officials “have been informed and invited to participate in all the activities and processes related to the project.”

He added that the provincial government will proceed with the bidding for the bulk water project and that Silay City will also benefit from the project.

The P1.2 billion Negros Occidental Bulk Water Supply Project (NBWSP) aims to address the increasing water demand in the province through the development of a bulk water supply system, which will have a minimum capacity of 34.5 million liters per day, to be sourced from the Imbang River and/or Malogo River.

It is expected to supply treated bulk water to six water service providers in the province, particularly in the cities of Silay, Talisay, Victorias, and Bacolod, as well as the municipalities of Manapla and EB Magalona.

To be implemented through a joint venture with the provincial government, the project will have a cooperation period of 38 years, inclusive of a construction period of three years.*


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June 2024

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