BACOLOD City Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr. urged the local government of Bacolod to review and scrutinize the management of Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa).
In a privileged speech delivered during the regular session at the city council Thursday afternoon, June 6, Gamboa said it is imperative to the city government to review and scrutinize the management of Baciwa in terms of revenue operation, personnel management and the most important one is on how the funds of Baciwa is being handled and managed.
“No company for that matter could stand a chance once its financial aspect is mismanaged, corrupted and abused by incompetent individuals and officers,” he said.
He added it is imperative likewise, for the city now to study other alternative solutions such as creating linkages between or among neighboring cities and municipalities by tapping their water resources leaving no room for private companies where they are beholden to their return of investments (ROI) and profits in the local public water industry and to fast track the delivery of the Bacolod Bulk Water project.
Gamboa added that it has been more than 50 years since Bacolod City created the Baciwa by virtue of a Resolution No. 4460 on October 6, 1974 pursuant to Republic Act 198 and Resolution No. 4539 on January 14, 1974 ratifying the memorandum of agreement entered into by and between the City of Bacolod and Baciwa.
“Since then, the people of the City of Bacolod had long been deprived of sufficient and quality water. In fact, more than 50 percent of our consumer households here in Bacolod are still without water supply and the remaining either with no regular or sufficient water supply,” Gamboa said.
“Where did the P357 million loan and the additional supplemental budget of P108 million in 2002 to 2008 go which was supposed to serve more than 80 percent of the total households in Bacolod City to include pipe-laying and address the non-revenue water or (NRW) which Baciwa to this date could not explain and where the people of the City of Bacolod is still paying up to 2033?” Gamboa asked.
“This form of oppression causes great frustration that could lead Bacolodnons to such solutions in the form of either privatization or joint venture agreement, among others. Although not the best alternative but out of anger and frustration, the lure privatization or joint venture agreement whatever you may call it could be percieved as a relief or a necessary evil,” he said.
The councilor said reports have it that Baciwa board is set to finalize the terms of reference to contract with Prime Water by the end of the month of June this year.
He added that this is an urgent task which must be carried out with decisiveness, resoluteness and collaborative power of Baciwa employees union, consumers-stakeholders, cause-oriented groups, concerned organizations, institutions, advocate LGU’s and individuals.
Gamboa said for the Baciwa board who has the propensity of passing and issuing arbitrary, capricious and illegal resolutions, it is your mandate to protect consumers interest and not your appointing officer and to the big business who will stand to gain big profit from this joint venture agreement.
“To the consuming public, as well as my colleagues in the City Council please be informed of the issues concerning Baciwa and the joint venture agreement and join us in our fight against this Board whom I have referred to always as the modern-day collaborators, economic predators and corporate carpetbaggers,” Gamboa added.