Whipping boy

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014


MINDANAO has its rotating brownouts. Here in Bacolod, we have rotating no Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa) water.

For crying out loud, yesterday was the fourth day in a row that we had no water in Alijis. Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) brownouts usually last for several minutes. With Baciwa, it’s almost between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. That’s 12 hours.

Calls to Baciwa’s Customer Relations get no resolution to the problem. Bear and grin, it’s Ceneco’s fault for power tripping. Don’t look at us, blame them.

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I get excuses of “It takes a long time to pump up the water.” Last year, I was advised to wait for two hours after the Handumanan Pumping Station gets power back. Now, the woman at the CR can’t even tell.

At least, last year in November, I can accept the inconveniences of the double whammy of no power and no water. We can all blame Yolanda for that.

This time, Baciwa cannot invoke force majeure. But yeah, there’s Ceneco, its Baciwa’s whipping boy. Baciwa bigwigs think the water utility is a prince that it can pass off its accountability to another public utility.

During the 15th century and 16th centuries, the English monarchies placed whipping boys in the English court. A young boy was assigned to a young prince and was punished when the prince misbehaved or fell behind in his schooling.

To Baciwa Board of Directors Lawyers Lorendo K. Dilag, Ma. Aida K. Torre, Lawrence D. Villanueva, Dr. Marichi F. Ramos, and Cecila A. Henares, and your CEO lawyer Juliana B. Carbon, you are not princes or princesses.
You are not entitled to a whipping boy. You are not entitled to use another agency as an excuse for incompetence and inefficiency. Baciwa is a public utility, and the buck stops with you. If there are whippings to be made, they will be on you.

To Wennie Sancho, Bacolod Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr., Ben Tundag, Malou Parroco, Priscilla Goco, Ed Gamboa, Agustin Grajo, Rolly Torre, Rey Padilla, and Mildred Valladolid of Water Watch, where are your voices now?

You are not Simon and Garfunkel, where you can sing their 1960 hit song, The Sound of Silence. Back in August, you in Water Watch said that in times of crises, “we cannot be silent, we cannot just sit and wait for the blow to fall, because that first blow could be the last. We must do away with old habit of keeping our mouth shut. We must speak out strongly because it is our future that is at stake.”

Forget your ideology against privatization. If privatization is what it’s going to take to improve Baciwa’s performance, so be it. PLDT became a more efficient company when the telecommunication industry was deregulated. Globelines, Bayantel and other telcos gave the former monopoly PLDT a run for its money.

You said that in line with the advocacy of Water Watch is to protect the rights, interests and welfare of the Baciwa consumers. Fine. So let’s hear a peep from you, people. Tell us how you will protect our rights on this inexplicable incompetence of the Baciwa leadership.

Well, we water consumers are listening. We are waiting for any concrete steps from you all how you are going to resolve this daily Baciwa crisis in the Handuman Pumping Station and elsewhere.

(bqsanc@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 12, 2014.

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