Baciwa execs answer director’s complaints

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Friday, August 22, 2014


THE Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa) heads of operations and concerned employees answered the 10-point complaint filed by director Marichi Ramos against embattled general manager Juliana Carbon on Thursday.

Ramos, along with board chairman Lawrence Villanueva and vice chairman Lorendo Dilag, voted to suspend Carbon earlier this month.

Among the grounds for Carbon’s suspension are her alleged willful misrepresentation of the Murcia Water District bulk water supply contract with Baciwa, the appointment of officers-in-charge, and giving of representation and transportation allowance (Rata) without the approval of the Board.

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Also included are alleged fraudulent certificate of completion and final acceptance without board authority and without the project having been completed as part of the P537-million loan for Phase II; non-disclosure of the 7.5-kilometer pipeline from Granada to Burgos-Lopez Jaena which was not interconnected to the Baciwa system since 2008; non-disclosure of the P241-million retained earnings of Baciwa; non-reporting of the 750 KVA generator as part of the Baciwa assets; non-disclosure of the Mansilingan reservoir.

The six-booster pumps which allegedly have not been utilized as part of the P537-million loan; continuous disbursement of employees’ allowance which were previously disallowed by the Commission on Audit; abnormally high non-revenue water; and her consistent refusal to meet with the chairman in the board room for conferences relative to Baciwa matters, amounting to insubordination.

Taking turns in answering the issues were Samuel Penado, OIC-assistant general manager for administration; Jenelyn Gemora, OIC-assistant general manager for operations; Rommel Paredes, OIC, Maintenance Department; Kristine Polana, OIC, Finance Department; Ma. Fe Jarder, manager, Commercial Department, among others.

Gemora said all these issues emanated from the non-revenue water (NRW) as she disclosed that policy recommendations were already submitted by the management to the Board in 2009 for NRW reduction program and Baciwa has conducted various trainings and skills enhancement for technical and field personnel for the program.

A twinning program with Maynilad Water Services Inc. was also availed to share best practices on NRW reduction, Gemora said.

In the evaluation of the Joint Venture Selection Committee formed by the Board, the offer of Miya-Maynilad (Maynilad later pulled out from the partnership) and Manila Water Co., Inc. was found to be disadvantageous to Baciwa and a recommendation was stated that an in-house NRW reduction program be adopted.

However, the Board, through the votes of Villanueva, Dilag and Ramos, junked the proposed in-house NRW reduction program submitted by the management and opted to proceed to the Stage 2 of the process which is the negotiation stage with Miya, but the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) also voted against the intent to proceed with the negotiation stage.

Gemora added that despite the stand-off, the management implemented district metering, electro-magnetic flow meter installation, leak detection, meter rehabilitation, pipe replacement, pressure management, and illegal connection apprehension activities that reduced the NRW to 35.94 percent as of June 2014 from 50.5 percent in January of 2012.

They added that the proposed bulk water supply from Murcia Water District (MWD) through agency to agency procurement is allowed under Republic Act 9184.

The contention of Villanueva, Dilag and Ramos that the location of the spring sources of MWD is within the territorial boundary of Bacolod is not a concern of Baciwa but of MWD, they said, adding that the proposed memorandum of agreement submitted by the management does not state any limitation on the location of water source to be utilized by MWD.

Baciwa shall only make sure that the required minimum volume and water quality parameters are met by MWD with pertinent provisions for the protection of Baciwa in case volume and water quality parameters are not met.

Regarding the P537-million loan Phase II project, they said the signing of the certificate of completion and final acceptance was with the authority of the Board under Resolution No. 007, series of 2010 dated January 5, 2010.

Green Asia Construction and Development Corporation (GACDC), however, posed objection to the stated conditions thus, the contract was not consummated.

All work items that were either added or deleted from the contract of GACDC were duly approved by the Board and LWUA, they added.

Moreover, they said the 7.5-kilometer pipeline from Granada to Burgos- Lopez Jaena Streets is part of the approved deleted items in the contract of GACDC.

They also said that Baciwa's retained earnings are fully disclosed in the face of the balance sheet under the Equity Section.

It is reported and accounted for in the financial statements that were done and submitted monthly to the Board of Directors for their information, they added.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 22, 2014.

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