Council Authorizes City’s Intervention on John Hay Water Applications

Council Authorizes City’s Intervention on John Hay Water Applications

VOL. XVIII NO. 4 (Nov 1-7, 2014)

BAGUIO CITY – The city council on Monday authorized the city government’s formal intervention on all water rights applications of all the Camp John Hay bodies to tap water from sources within the reservation.

The body approved two resolutions directing the city’s intercession on all applications, whether pending or not and whether granted temporary permit or not, of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), John Hay Management Corporation, John Hay Water Systems Corporation, Camp John Hay Development Corporation and all other entities for rights over any water source within the former military reservation.

Proponent Councilors Peter Fianza, Faustino Olowan, Michael Lawana and Richard Carino said there is now a need for the city to formally intervene in said applications with the apparent disregard of the city’s request to the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) to make it as an automatic intervenor in all water permit applications in the city.

The city also needs to step in to properly ventilate its reasons for opposing the applications of the John Hay bodies over a number of water sources within the reservation.

The body tasked the city legal office to immediately enter its appearance and file the necessary or appropriate pleadings for and in behalf of the city in all of the said pending water permit applications and to study what action can be taken to the applications already granted in the area.

The aldermen said the BCDA, “claiming the need to regulate uncontrolled use of water within the (reservation) has filed water rights applications” over springs located at barangays Greenwater, Hillside, Loakan-Liwanag and Happy Hallow now pending before the NWRB.
The said applications were opposed by barangay officials and residents who have been maintaining said water sources.

The aldermen noted that the city has not received any notice from the NWRB on hearing of said water applications despite the passage of City Council Resolution No. 081-2014 “Requesting the (NWRB) to Make the City Government of Baguio as the Automatic Intervenor in all Applications for Water Permits in the City of Baguio.”

“Understandably, the NWRB is a quasi-judicial body, governed by its own rules of procedures that it likewise ignored City Council Resolution Numbered 162, Series of 2014 [Urging the National Water Resources Board not to Implement the Notice of Water Permit Application Numbered Car-Ben-2014-04-043 dated 28 April 2014 of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority] involving a water source located at Barangay Greenwater Village,” the aldermen noted.

The aldermen said BCDA is trying to “skirt or circumvent” the conditionality set by the city government in the development of Camp John Hay that any additional water supply for its operations should be sourced outside the city.

Despite the said condition, the BCDA now intends “to develop and maintain a commercial potable water supply system that will cover and also take-over water supply distribution system in the affected barangays.”

The BCDA, in answering oppositions to its water permit applications, even insisted that the city’s condition does not apply to its water rights applications.

“However, the city hereby insists the applicability of the (said) conditionality,” the body noted./ A Refuerzo