THE Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa) recently obtained a term loan of P520-million from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) rather than from the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) since the bank offered a more than 50 percent lower interest rate.

Engineer Jenelyn Gemora, acting general manager of Baciwa, said the P520-million loan is intended as payment for the phase three project fund it originally availed through a loan package from LWUA.

With LWUA, the loan is payable in 25 years with an interest rate of 12.5 percent which was later reduced to 8.5 percent, Gemora said.

“We decided to refinance it with DBP because the loan repayment is payable for 19 years with an interest rate of only four percent thus, it can translate to a savings of P26 million a year for the water district," Gemora said.

This is very beneficial for Baciwa and its consumers, she added.

The fully operational phase three project implemented from 2002 to 2008 is comprised of construction of additional water sources, reservoir, pumping stations, main transmission lines and pipelines in areas of Barangays Felisa, Handumanan, Bata and other outskirts portions of Bacolod City.

Gemora said the fund was not directly downloaded to Baciwa. It was an Overseas Cooperative Fund (OCF) from the Japanese government coursed through LWUA which directly paid the project contractors based in Manila.

LWUA also took charge of the bidding process and supervising of the project, she added.

“The loan from DBP will be paid through the revenues of the water district," Gemora said, adding that it will be favorable to pay the loan within the required period since Baciwa has not previously incurred any backlog or delinquency.

On top of the P520-million term loan from DBP, Baciwa has still an open account bill of about P200 million with LWUA.

Gemora, however, said the water district is still seeking a reduction of its capitalized interest worth P108 million, citing “the delays [are] not attributed on the part of Baciwa.”

“This is still subject for reconciliation pending the opinion of the audit department of LWUA whether to allow the contested reduction or not," Gemora said.

Baciwa has decided not to pay several years back but the capitalized interest continues, she added.