A Bacolod businessman, who is claiming ownership of a property in Sitio Balogo, Concepcion Village, Talisay City, is asking the Bacolod City Water District for payment for the use of the water source in his property.
Erle Gonzales yesterday said BACIWA owes him P207 million in unpaid or back rentals from 1973 to date. He claimed that the water utility has no water rights under Presidential Decree 198 to allow it to draw water from the Boro-Boro spring found inside his property in Talisay.
The legal title of the spring source is Balogo Spring which was granted Water Permit no. 022401 by the National Water Resources Board to the private owner to use or extract water from it, he said. He wants to rehabilitate the Balogo Spring and implement the water permit issued him, he added.
Gonzales said about 30 percent of BACIWA’s consumers in Bacolod City avail of the water being drawn from the spring source in his property known as Lot. No. 1017.
BACIWA expropriated the property without informing him and in 2007 it was issued by the Court a Writ of Possession, he said.
The water utility later asked for an amendment of the decision of the Court to implead Saosao-Vadlit as the owner, he added.
Gonzales said if no settlement is reached, he will file a legal suit against BACIWA with the Office of the Ombudsman in Manila.
Tony Wong, who accompanied Gonzales at the press conference yesterday, said the property is about 3.5 hectares. He said the Boro-Boro spring, which is one of Baciwa’s water sources located in Brgy. Alangilan, Bacolod City, is actually a spring source located in Balogo, Concepcion, Talisay.
Jovim Entila, legal counsel of BACIWA, said Lot 1017 where the Boro-Boro spring is located, was expropriated by BACIWA with the Regional Trial Court.
After the Court issued BACIWA a Writ of Possession, the water utility paid its first payment with the Court equivalent to the assessed value of the property to be received by the rightful owner, he said.
If Gonzales is the real owner of the property, he should participate in the Court proceedings so he could express his comment on the petition of BACIWA, he added.
Entila said Lot 1017 has many claimants – Saosi, Saosao and now Gonzales. And until now it is not known who the rightful owner is, he said.
Based on history, the lot was owned by Ladislao Saosao, he said.
Entila said they have provided Gonzales a copy of the permit of BACIWA from the NWRB which allows it to draw water from the spring.
He can verify the permit with the NWRB, he said. BACIWA is an agent of the NWRB in Negros Occidental, he added.*CGS