DENR asked to stop water extraction in Bohol

CEBU CITY – A local government unit (LGU) in Bohol province has asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to stop its neighboring town from extracting water from a spring located in its territory.

Sevilla town Mayor Juliet Dano wrote DENR Secretary Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga on Jan. 18 complaining that the P95-million waterworks project of Balilihan “intruded our political jurisdiction in the installation of their infrastructure in Bugwak Spring...(which) is situated at Magsaysay, Sevilla, Bohol.”

Dano pointed out that per Balilihan’s water permit, it should be extracting water from Bugwak Spring in Santo Niño, which is part of Balilihan.

Instead, Balilihan has been siphoning water from Bugwak Spring in Magsaysay, Balilihan, “contrary to their approved water permit,” Dano said.

Dano is seeking Yulo-Loyzaga’s “utmost attention and immediate action,” saying the implementation of Balilihan’s waterworks project is a clear violation of DENR rules for having no valid water and building permits.

Dano also asked the DENR National Water Resources Board (NWRB) to stop Balilihan from extracting water from her municipality.

The NWRB is the body that coordinates and regulates all water development and management in the country. It gave the Ballilihan LGU permit to extract water within its own territory.

“The actual (water) diversion point is located at Magsaysay, Sevilla, Bohol as evidenced by the installations made by the DPWH-Bohol 1st Engineering District,” Dano said in her petition before the NWRB.

“The requirements of Posting and Sending of Notice under Section 9 of the Amended Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Water Code of the Philippines were not followed,” she added.

NWRB Executive Director Dr. Sevilla David Jr., DENR-Bicol Regional Director Paquito Melicor Jr., the Secretaries of Justice, Science, and Technology, and National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), as well as the University of the Philippines-Hydraulic Research, were furnished copies of Dano’s letter to the DENR Secretary.

The issue stemmed from the complaints of Magsaysay residents who sought Dano’s help in May 2022 due to the ongoing construction and installation of water lines in their area.