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The board of directors of the Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD) junked anew the demand of its supplier to increase water rates from P10 to P16.35 per cubic meter.

In a meeting, the COWD board stated that the government-owned utility could not accede to the demand of its supplier for the western sector, Rio Verde Water Consortium, Inc., due to pending litigation of provisions of its contract with the bulk water supplier, COWD general manager Rachel Beja said.

Earlier, the Commission on Audit (COA) disallowed provisions of the COWD-Rio Verde contract for an increase in water rates. COWD appealed the COA ruling and the matter is under litigation before a regional court

In a letter dated October 27 to COWD, Rio Verde vice president Joffrey Hapitan said the supplier will be forced to shut off its supply to the utility if the latter will not implement the increase from the current rate of P10 per cubic meter.

Hapitan’s stance occurred after the COWD board, in an emergency meeting last week, denied Rio Verde’s October 23 price increase demand for the first time.

Meanwhile, Beja said the COWD management and its board refused to speculate on whether the 12-hour shutdown initiated by Rio Verde between Saturday and Sunday last week was intentional.

Beja said that they received an official communication from Rio Verde Saturday evening that the bulk water supplier underwent an emergency leak repair at their facility.

The developments come at a time when COWD and Rio Verde agreed to rescind its November 2004 contract.

The contract termination—part of a compromise with COA to end the current litigation—is yet to be approved though by the court. (PNA/MDF)

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