Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Sangil: PrimeWater is not a friend of consumers

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IN THE recent week, Metro Manilans were shouting T.U.B.I.G...!!! Their taps run dry. Long queue of people with their pails on roving water trucks were shown on television news. How come? Isn’t El Niño and the annual dry season not predictable? What mitigation government has instituted? I said nada, walley, nothing.

Again El Niño will last till June of this year according to the weather bureau. The dry season will have a severe impact on the farmlands. Government should act fast. Dams are already reaching critical levels. Huwag matulog sa pansitan.

In the provinces, water gushing from the taps haven’t stopped. Not yet, repeat, not yet much of a problem. I can predict that maybe sooner or later, we will suffer similar fate like the Metro Manilans.

In a congressional hearing this week, the chief executive officer of the Ayala-owned Manila Water was thrown all antagonistic questions and was skewered by the solons. The water company took all the blame for the drop in service. He promised no more water woes in the future. Talaga ah? Now it comes to mind the privatization of many water districts in Pampanga.

Guagua, San Fernando and Mabalacat City which negotiated with the Villar owned Prime Water for their privatization. Though the local boards are saying it’s joint venture to soften public criticism, it is more of a sellout, if I may say so. There must be millions and millions of reasons why the so-called joint venture agreement (JVA). All of these water districts were making profits when they entered JVA with Prime Water. I don’t think Prime Water is a friend of the consumers.

As it is today, more companies, housing subdivisions, banks, schools, casinos, food chains, industrial park and golf courses grew in number inside Clark Freeport. All of which consume on a 24 hour basis large volume of water. In a study, it showed that Clark Freeport today consume more than 30,000 cubic meters per day, the total output of the service provider. I am sure the water situation in the Freeport will have some impact on the adjacent communities like Angeles and Mabalacat.

Of course, everyone knows that we pumped water from the ground. We really don’t know who and how they measure the aquifer. If Clark and the adjacent communities with their respective water districts pump water from the ground and retail to thousands of households with hefty profit, the question is if they have alternative plans in case there will be a drying up. Will Prime Water come into rescue on all those water districts wherein which it has JVA?

According to Renato “Abong” Tayag, a conservationist, there is project concept called the Sapang Bato Watershed Area. It is an integrated engineering development that would cover the Abacan river channel. It can be planned as a watershed that can be tapped as a source of bulk water. The location is in the area of Barangay Sapangbato, western portion of Clark Freeport.

I remember suggesting then to the Clark Development Corporation and to the local governments nearby to take a look on the project concept but apparently it fell on deaf ears, as I haven’t heard of any move. Not a finger was lifted.

TIDBITS: Interesting one-on-one are those races between comebacking Mayor Romy Pecson and incumbent Malou Lacson. Pecson is heavy favorite. In Candaba, Rene Maglanque is full throttle vs. incumbent Mayor Dan Baylon. Incumbent Mayor John Sambo is facing his toughest battle and relying on the support of Congressman Rimpy Bondoc. His opponent Ninang Ronquillo has the backing of all political personalities in Sto. Tomas including the Naguits and Arceos.


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