Bacolod mayor not against Baciwa privatization

“I’M NOT against privatization per se.”

This was stressed by Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia after the signature drive opposing the privatization of the Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa) already reached more than 15,000 signatures from consumers to stop the proposed joint venture of the water district.

Leonardia said privatization is an instrument that is already being adopted worldwide.

“Because if you go in terms of development, we have seen how the Philippines was when there was no public private partnership (PPP) so why not accelerate it if you can, why do we have to wait until we will get that money to do these things?” he said.

“If there’s no PPP, can we have the skyway, tunnels and overpass?” the mayor asked.

“It has to be taken on a case-to-case basis. Let’s just not oppose it because it’s privatization per se, in fact it is an instrument that could be used to accelerate the growth and development of the country,” Leonardia said.

Last week, Bayan Muna Party-list representative Ferdinand Gaite along with members of the Amlig Tubig, an alliance of concerned water consumers, held a public consultation on the proposed privatization of Baciwa at St. John Marie Vianney Hall, San Sebastian Pastoral Complex in Bacolod City.

Gaite said he is planning to file a resolution in Congress to investigate the proposed privatization of Baciwa.

He said that he will file a separate resolution to investigate the proposed privatization of Baciwa and on the allegations that there were graft and corrupt practices on the management of the water district.

“We will investigate these so that we can have an appropriate legislation for the benefits of the people of Bacolod,” he said.

On July 1, 2019, he already filed House Resolution 10, urging the House of Representatives, through the committee on government enterprise and privatization, to investigate, in aid of legislation, the privatization of water utilities in the different parts of the country, particularly the privatization of Metropolitan Water Works And Sewerage System (MWSS) and the local water districts, and its impact to the provision of services and security of tenure of water districts employees.

Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr. earlier said Baciwa is now in the stage four on their proposed joint venture or public-private partnership between the Prime Water.

“We are thankful to Gaite that he will file a separate House Resolution to investigate the proposed privatization of Baciwa,” he said.

Leny Espina, president of Baciwa Employee’s Union, also earlier said they are opposing the proposed joint venture or privatization because this is not good for the people of Bacolod that the private company will handle the water district.

She said the Manila Water also submitted its documents last week and if they passed on the eligibility, they will purchase another documents for financial and technical.

“We will wait if there will be more proponents on the privatization of Baciwa, but we will continue our opposition to privatize the water district and we are also thankful to Gaite that he will make a separate resolution in Congress to investigate the proposed privatization of Baciwa,” she added.

The union also questioned the track record of Prime Water.


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