Water Watch to intervene NRW project of Miya Maynilad

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Friday, August 23, 2013


THE newly formed Water Watch is compelled to intervene in the proposal submitted by Miya-Maynilad to the Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa) to undertake the non-revenue water (NRW) and expansion project of Baciwa.

Wennie Sancho, vice chairman of Water Watch, said if this deal would lack public vigilance, this may put the consumers in a bad light, considering that this would surely result in water rate increase.

As reported, the current cost of water per cubic meter is P29. But if this deal prospers, this will financially strangle Baciwa and also the consumers because, as reported, the P29 per cubic meter will become P185 per cubic meter.

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The increase would mean 156 percent which is a heavier burden for the consumers, he pointed out.

Water Watch has formed an Ad Hoc Committee chaired by Councilor Wilson "Jun" Gamboa, Jr.

Its convenors believe that the privatization of Baciwa is inimical to the consumers and Baciwa itself.

Miya Maynilad has proposed to reduce the NRW of the water firm by 20 percent by the end of the fifth year and to expand the service area. They target to recover 18 million liters of water per day.

The scope of work would be the usual water loss reduction activities. On the expansion, the expansion area will be owned by the Joint Venture company, which will in turn get the income. 

No water source development

Baciwa, Water Watch said, only has the option to lease at the end of the 15-year period. The proposed area covers the relocation sites and nine subdivisions with water system already turned over and will be turned over to Baciwa. 

This will tantamount to giving a market share to private entity in a silver platter -- a shortcut form of privatization. The 18 million liters of water recovered per day is insufficient for the existing expanded area, Sancho said.

On double talk

Sancho said that it seems that the board of directors of Baciwa is involved in a double talk.

It can be recalled that the board had filed a resolution, deferring all transactions related to the NRW project. Here comes the opinion of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC), as reported, that the board can go ahead with the Stage 2 of the Miya Maynilad proposal.

But the OGCC is merely an opinion, Sancho said. 

"What if the board will not comply with the opinion of OGCC, will it be a violation?" he asked.

But there are hidden moves that pushed hard and strangle Baciwa to financial indebtedness, he pointed out.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 23, 2013.

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