What’s the question?

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014


WHAT’S the question, asks William Shakespeare in Hamlet? To suspend or not to suspend, that is the question in Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa).

The Baciwa Employees Union (BEU) president Claudio Salmo, for one, insists, "We support GM Carbon because she is protecting the interest of Baciwa and the concessionaires. The only reason why she is being pressured by the board is because she does not agree to let Miya, an Israel based company to handle the management of non-revenue water (NRW) project that will cost Baciwa P924 million, and after 15 years it will balloon to P7.88 billion. As a matter of fact, we already have started to reduce the NRW to 32 percent from 47 percent despite no funding support from the board."

Really? So why are Alijis consumers deprived of water almost every weekend, or even on work days. The normal excuse is that Baciwa concessionaires should blame Central Negros Electric Cooperative's brownouts. The Bacolod public utility rides piggyback on the availability (or non-availability) when the cooperative electric utility deprives Bacoleños of power. I suspect colorum connections.

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But lately, even Baciwa's blame game no longer holds water (pun intended). We are getting no water from our faucets even if Ceneco is providing continuous electric services.

Amid the grounds for her suspension, however, we see no efforts from Carbon to explain her side on the following issues.

* 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.

* 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-Lopez Jaena which was not interconnected to the Baciwa system since 2008.

* 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.

* Abnormally high non-revenue water (NRW), her consistent refusal to meet with the Board chair on Baciwa matters, tantamount to insubordination.

* Continuous disbursement of employees allowance that were previously disallowed by the Commission on Audit

Oops, do I smell a conflict of interest here? Why am I not surprised that the union (some members?) is supporting the GM? After all, no one bites the hand that feed them.

Instead, we get a public explanation of an alleged four vehicles that kept passing by the office, where she was holed in, at about 10 p.m. Friday.

"If they enter, the facility might be in danger. So we decided to stay at the Baciwa administration office to be on top of the situation," was how she rationalized her stay at the office.

I remember the movie "Wag the Dog." In that Hollywood film, just days before a presidential election, a Washington, DC spin doctor (De Niro) distracts the electorate from a sex scandal by hiring a Hollywood film producer (Hoffman) to construct a fake war with Albania.

Of course, the Board accusation against the GM does not involve a salacious scandal. Why on earth would the Directors barge into the office? As we say in the vernacular, what's this? A pa-martir effect?

Please cut the thriller cinematic effect. Ms. Carbon, just address the questions raised by the Board, not create another issue. Thank you!

(bqsanc@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 06, 2014.

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