Thursday, June 17, 2010

Water or power? Mayor Sara chooses water

The burning issue between water and power has once again been put to rest by Mayor-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio after she informed Davao City’s business sector that she will definitely choose water over power, anytime

Duterte-Carpio presented the economic platform of her administration to members of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCCII).

“I’ve been adamant about the proposal to amend the watershed code of the city and told the councillors that such an amendment will not happen during my tern as Vice Mayor,” she said.

She said there is a reason why the Tamugan River has been declared a protected area. This is primarily because it serves as a recharge zone of our underwater aquifers, she added.

A recharge zone is an area of land through which water passes through holes or cracks in soil and rock to fill an aquifer. Deep rooted trees should be planted in recharge zones so that the rainwater can refill the aquifers

“If you ask me which is more important—water or power—I will say water,” she said. She however admitted that since there will be a new vice mayor effective July (the present Mayor Rodrigo Duterte), and a new City Council then they might just change their minds.

Duterte-Carpio however said that even if the new City Council decides to amend the Watershed Code, it will still be forwarded to the Office of the Mayor for approval.

Sally Leuenberger, who was one of the attendees, reacted to Duterte-Carpio’s statement, saying both water and power should be considered since they are both useful to business.

It can be recalled that the issue of water versus power became intense when the Davao City Water District protested the use of the Tamugan River by Hedcor for its hydropower plant project.

The conflicting views between DCWD and Hedcor dragged the city council in the issue. Members of the City Council however disapproved Hedcor’s use of the Tamugan River and used the Watershed Code as the basis.

“The Tamugan River was declared a protected area because it is one of the main sources of Davao City’s potable waters; opening it up for other uses will endanger our water source,” councilor Rachel Zozobrado said. Zozobrado was one of those who intensely opposed the amendment of the Watershed Code.

The choice of water over power elicited various responses from the business sector. Some agreed with Dutert-Carpio’s pronouncement saying that Davao is known all over the world for its clean and potable water and this is one of the city’s competitive advantage. Others however disagreed and said that business also needs power to operate.

“At the end of the day it is the public’s interest that should prevail,” Mindanao Business Council chairperson Vicente Lao said. “This time I agree with the mayor’s stand because I think we should also prioritize water,” he added.

Lao said when out water resources is gone, we can no longer produce it. On the other hand, he added, power can be produced from various source.

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has already signified his intention to favor water over power when it comes to choosing between the two resources.

Hedcor’s hydropower project is being eyed as one of the solutions to the power crisis being experienced by Mindanao today. However, when push comes to shove, it appears that the new Mayor of the city has spoken and she has spoken in favor of protecting Davao City’s recharge zones.

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