“THIS is a takeover not a partnership investment.”
This was stressed by Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr. during a public hearing convened by Amlig Tubig on the privatization of the Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa) held in Bacolod on July 15.
Gamboa said in a press statement that the move of the Baciwa Board of Directors (BOD) to engage the Prime Water Corp. in an onerous joint-venture agreement is a “Take Over” and not a “Partnership Investment” contrary to the points raised by the BOD.
Gamboa said the Baciwa Board engaged a four year old private water utility company Prime Water has already taken over more than 60 water utilities all over the country in only a span of four years, thus financial track record and viability have not been established yet and their success rate is reportedly zero as of now.
He said the Prime Water will use Baciwa as its milking cow because they would not commit and infuse capital until the creation or formation of the “joint-venture company” and therefore would utilize existing Baciwa assets, facilities, equipment, high volume water consumer market network, strong financial liquidity to avail of loans and other financial assistance.
He added the Prime Water liability is limited to itself and not to its mother company which is the Vista Land or the Villar Group of Companies.
“It is nothing more therefore but an economic predator in cahoots with the modern Baciwa BOD collaborators and carpet baggers,” Gamboa pointed out.
Gamboa said the Baciwa employees are being offered a hefty 450 percent early retirement option and/or separation pay and that not more than 20 Baciwa employees will be retained as part of the agreement.
“Only the Baciwa BOD will be retained to monitor the undertaken project and prime water will entirely control, supervise and manage Baciwa,” he said.
Gamboa disclosed that the Baciwa BOD, acting with impunity beyond the reach of public accountability, is not transparent about the details of this so-called joint venture agreement with Prime Water.
Lawyer Lorendo Dilag, chairman of Baciwa Board, earlier said the Baciwa Board is against privatization and a joint venture is not privatization.
He said the Prime Water has passed with all the legal, technical and financial requirements of the Joint Venture Selection Committee.
He added the water district has been transparent with all the procedures following the unsolicited proposal submitted by Prime Water.