Sanchez: Competition

Nature Speaks

HOW do you solve a problem like Baciwa if you live in the suburbs?

Answer, basically an ideological and political one: according to the Board of Directors, partner with Villar-owned Prime Water.

The Bacolod City Water District Employees Union (BEU-NAFLU) stated that water as a natural resource, should belong to the people through the government, and not controlled and profited from vested interest that’s why they oppose the joint venture.

“The joint venture will be grossly disadvantageous to Baciwa, to its employees and most importantly, to us residents of Bacolod City,” the union further stated.

Prime Water signed a joint venture agreement (JVA) with Baciwa under the government’s public-private partnership program, which will allow the company owned by former Senate President Manny Villar and his wife, Sen. Cynthia Villar to take over the daily operations of the water service in Bacolod City for the next 25 years.

The problem with the trade union theory is they failed to prove them in practice. Daily in the past week, we have no water here in Alljis from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Wasn’t it Chinese paramount leader Deng Xiaoping who insisted, “It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.” In other words, who cares whether it’s public or private so long as Baciwa can deliver water, 24/7.

The problem is, that is unimpressive too. Take note that the government-owned Philippine News Agency reported in Zamboanga, Prime Water failed to supply the west coast and the city proper areas because production is only 38.75 percent.

Marli de Fiesta, Zamboanga City Water District (ZCWD) Engineer and Construction Department manager, stated that Prime Water can only produce 28.8 million liters a day (MLD) although it is supposed to supply 50 MLD as per contract.

ZCWD cannot lift the water rationing “until such time Prime Water can give what is required of them so that they can supply all the areas (in the west coast and city proper).”

He said the current daily production of ZCWD and Prime Water is 139,249 cubic meters, which is way below the 157,000 cubic meters needed by the 60,000 water concessionaires.

From where I sit, the problem is that these water utilities operate as monopolies. Their concessionaires are forced to take their lousy services or leave it.

Ah what a blessing it would be to have competition the like of the telecommunications market! So many choices of the best, second best, third. Take your pick.


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