SC urged to settle issue of Bulacan water rights
Even as Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado stressed the importance of improving the structural integrity of the dams in Bulacan, he urged the Supreme Court to decide “one way or the other” on the pending matter of Bulacan’s water rights.
On June 3, 2005, a decision in Civil Case No. 410-M2003 was rendered by the Regional Trial Court in Bulacan against the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System(MWSS) were the court upheld the right of the province to its 40% share in the utilization of the water resource derive from Angat Dam, pursuant to Section 7, Article X of the Constitution.
Aggrieved, the MWSS appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals, docketed as C.A.-G.R. CV No. 86701, where the appellate court sustained the ruling of the trial court, further defining the rights of the province in the utilization and development of natural resources. The Court of Appeals decision on the said case said that the Local Government Code and its implementing rules and regulations clearly mentioned “water” as part of the natural wealth.
The decision of the appellate court was promulgated when the governor was still serving as the provincial vice governor.
Even during his stint as Representative of the first Congressional District of Bulacan, he had consistently taken the stand that the MWSS should and ought to pay the province its just share as provided by law.
He told the Philippines Graphic in an interview that the 1987 Constitution was very explicit on the matter.
As of this writing, the decision of the Court of Appeals on the said case was still pending review with the Supreme Court for more than five years.
The governor of Bulacan reiterated that it was time that the Supreme Court resolved the matter.
“Justice delayed is justice denied,” the governor told the Graphic. He said that a favorable decision would eventually seal the right of the province of its just share in the utilization of Angat Dam’s water resources.
According to a press statement sent to the Graphic by the provincial government, Bulakenyos had been patiently waiting for this ruling that will ultimately benefit them in terms of delivery of basic social services, assistance and the promotion of well-being.