Bacolod Council seeks DOJ probe on Baciwa joint venture

The Bacolod City Council has approved a resolution requesting President Rodrigo Duterte through the Department of Justice (DOJ) to look into the matter and review the validity of the joint venture agreement between the Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa) and Prime Water Infrastructure Inc.

The resolution, authored by Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr., was approved during the regular session of the City Council Wednesday afternoon.

Gamboa said Baciwa is considered to be a government owned and controlled corporation, the same is imbued with public interest and its creation or charter emanated from Presidential Decree 198.

He said Section 18 of Presidential Decree 198 provides that the function of the board is to establish policy and the Board shall not engage in the derailed management of the water district.

“ We are requesting and appealing to President Duterte in his capacity as Chief Executive with executive and residual power of which include supervisory and disciplinary power over all government agencies to look into the matter and review the validity of the Joint Venture Agreement between Baciwa and Prime water Infrastructure under the Administrative Code of 1987, Book 3, Chapter 7, Section 19 and 20,” he added.

This, after about 60 Baciwa employees were earlier barred from entering the Baciwa office in Bacolod City.

The Baciwa Employee's Union, in a statement, earlier said that on December 29, 2020, Engineer Michael Soliva, acting general manager of Baciwa, issued Office Order 2020-081, informing 60 employees that they had been declared "redundant" by the board and were, therefore, being terminated from their jobs effective last working hour of December 31, 2020.

Gamboa said as a public servant and the same as those 60 employees of Baciwa who were unjustly and illegally dismissed and terminated, their rights and tenure must be protected against an "unjust, inhuman, and illegal order" of the Board of Directors of Baciwa, who acted as the "corporate carpetbaggers and collaborators of PrimeWater, a known corporate raider who for just a song and a mere promise took over the realms and management of Baciwa."

“ These members of the Baciwa Board of Directors believed that they are the 'absolute authority' by issuing arbitrary, capricious, and illegal resolutions and orders, which completely gave PrimeWater total supervision and control over its management, operations, collections, and the trampling of employees’ rights. Now, they have evolved as the henchmen of PrimeWater,” he said.

He added the termination of the 60 employees hammered the final nail of a total “takeover” of PrimeWater of Baciwa.

Chairman of the Board of Directors of Baciwa Lorendo Dilag for his part said there was nothing illegal on the move of the Baciwa to disallow the entry of 60 employees, who have been holding pickets outside their office since January 4.

Dilag said all better options and enough time, three years to be exact, of assemblies and dialogs, were given to all employees of the water district before its Joint Venture Agreement with Prime Water Bacolod was signed and implemented on November 7, 2020. (MAP)


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