Points to reconsider

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

AT FIRST blush, I would dismiss the intramurals within Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa) as the proxy war between Bacolod City’s Rep. Evelio Leonardia and Mayor Monico Puentevella.

On the other hand, Baciwa Director Marichi Ramos might have a point in her elation that Baciwa will be the first water utility to be investigated by the Senate.

Earlier, Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino directed the appropriate Senate committees “to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the implementation of local water districts of their projects and the participation of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) in the water supply provision in the countryside to protect consumers.”

The Senate resolution called for an inquiry into the LWUA loans to a number of local water districts like Baciwa that had received a loan of P537 million. Local Op-Eds said that the loan was haphazardly implemented, to the detriment of the consuming public.

As chair of the finance committee of the Baciwa Board, Ramos raised questions on the Baciwa management’s 47 percent systems losses and the implementation of a water system improvement project for Baciwa financed by a P537 million loan from LWUA.

As a Baciwa consumer, I can understand her point. No amount of partisan political propaganda can befuddle the consuming public that all is fine and peachy in the PUBLIC water utility.

The worst point is that for those funds to improve its water delivery service, General Manager Juliana B. Carbon blame Baciwa’s inefficiency to the Central Negros Electric Cooperative Inc. (Ceneco), an entirely independent electric cooperative.

A Ceneco middle level manager sent me a private message over Facebook that “baciwa gm carbon told me that ceneco is their lifeblood. they are dependent on us. ceneco also is dependent on the power transmitted by ngcp frm d power generators. There is domino effect in the process.”

In fact, GM Carbon admitted over Aksyon Radyo a few days after Typhoon Yolanda struck that their water service deliverables are contingent on Ceneco’s delivery of power to its consumers.

In other words, don’t blame us for the loss of water, blame it on Ceneco.

What a justification for inefficiency! As Alfred E. Neumann of MAD magazine used to say, “What? Me worry?” GM Carbon has yet to show worries about Baciwa’s non-deliverables, and reveals a flippant attitude toward consumer criticism, uncaring with what they think.

Baciwa is implementing a water rate increase to keep up with its expenses. But Ramos said she will oppose it since it has not improved its services.

Now, Mayor Monico Puentevella is showing her the door and intends to replace her with his political appointee.

Whether the incumbent Mayor has the right to give Ramos the boot is not my point. My point is that whoever sits in the board should put to task Baciwa management to ensure that its consumers get consistent supply of safe and potable water, regardless of the power situation.

After all, Baciwa has shown its consumers that a favored few can get Baciwa water, come hell or high water. It’s time that it does the same to all its consuming public.



Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on December 11, 2013.


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