As dry as El Niño drought

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Monday, August 4, 2014


FINALLY, someone spilled the beans why the kunsumidors of Baciwa (Bacolod City Water District) are full of kunsumisyon in the water utility’s poor service delivery.

Last Saturday, our faucets were as dry as an El Niño drought. This time, however, there was no balde advisory from General Manager Juliana Carbon. You know, “Consumers are advised to store enough water during the interruption period to avoid undue inconvenience” when there is a projected water delivery interruption.

The problem is that Carbon’s style of management is taking the path of least resistance. As management guru Peter Drucker pointed out, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Is Carbon doing the right things right with her balde advice?

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Now it seems even the Baciwa Board of Directors has enough of Ms. Carbon’s way of running the water utility. The Board placed her under preventive suspension for a maximum of 30 days. She is accused of doing something worse than solve the lack of water with her balde solution.

The grounds for her suspension include her alleged willful misrepresentation of the Murcia Water District bulk water supply contract with Baciwa, the appointment of officers-in-charge, and giving representation and transportation allowance (Rata) without a Board approval. It seems Carbon has overstepped and abused her management prerogatives.

Then there’s the 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 in Phase II, non-disclosure of the 7.5-kilometer pipeline from Granada to Burgos-López Jaena which was not interconnected to the Baciwa system since 2008.

Other missteps include her alleged 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 and the six booster pumps which allegedly have not been utilized as part of the P537 million loan.

There are more. Continuous disbursement of employees allowance that were previously disallowed by the Commission on Audit, abnormally high non-revenue water (NRW), her consistent refusal to meet with the Board chair on Baciwa matters, tantamount to insubordination.

There you go. The high NRW that could be blamed on customer meter underregistration, data handling errors, and theft of water in various forms such as unbilled authorized consumption. As usual, there were no details on NRW.
So now the General Manager is at loggerheads with the Board of Directors. At least, the GM has the support of the Baciwa Employees Union. It held a candle-lighting and prayer vigil outside the Baciwa office to support of her.

Their intramurals should be none of our business. These issues are internal to the organization, after all. Except, that this is a state-owned agency using taxpayers’ money. The public has a right to know.

Carbon need to explain to the public the truth about these allegations and the reasons for Baciwa’s lousy service, not simply rely on assertions on the right to due process.

Unfortunately, explanations on these issues that are in the Baciwa website are as dry as an El Niño drought. The consuming public are left in the dark as a Ceneco blackout in the night.

***

(bqsanc@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 04, 2014.

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