Sanchez: Nothing much to celebrate

IS THERE really much to celebrate in Bacolod City Water District’s 40 years of existence? According to its self-promotions, “Baciwa has always taken pride in providing safe and potable water to the residents of Bacolod City.”

I have to agree there is something to celebrate. After all, my barangay was finally connected to its pipeline in 2011. But “safe and potable?” That’s the $64 dollar question.

If it’s safe, why am I forced to go back to buy bottled water weekly? What’s the turbid water that coming off our faucets when this public utility funded by taxpayers’ and consumers’ money decides to shut off its water delivery?

It used to be that its boss lady lawyer, General Manager Juliana B. Carbon, advises consumers in online memorandums “that no water supply and low water pressure will be experienced in the whole service area due to power supply interruption.”

Last Saturday, Carbon didn’t even bother to post anything. For some strange reason, Baciwa simply cut off our water supply for roughly 12 hours, from morning until evening.

When our faucets finally saw water flowing again, you guessed what came out: turbid water.

“Safe and potable” water? Last I checked Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, “potable” still means “safe to drink.” If anyone saw the brackish water, however, no one would dare take a bath, let alone drink, Baciwa’s water.

Well, I might drink it, if Carbon and the Baciwa drink two big glasses turbid water in public in front of television cameras. If after one week nothing happens to them, I’ll take their word for it.

At least, that’s how the Department of Health and perhaps the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources assure the consuming public when they eat green shells said to be contaminated with red tide.

On another note, aren’t these issues supposedly what Water Watch is supposedly…watching? WW’s formal launching in August 2013 signaled its work as advocate and watchdog in Baciwa affairs.

Paging WW Secretary General Wennie Sancho, Chair Bacolod Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr., Board of Directors Ben Tundag, Malou Parroco, Precilla Goco, Ed Gamboa, Agustin Grajo, Rolly Torre, Rey Padilla, and Mildred Valladolid.

Back in August, Water Watch said that in times of crises, “we cannot be silent, we cannot just sit and wait for the blow to fall, because that first blow could be the last. We must do away with old habit of keeping our mouth shut. We must speak out strongly because it is our future that is at stake.”

Further, WW insisted that Baciwa’s Board of Directors “did not even bother to consult the consumers because they seem not to care about the consumers’ interest.”

So now I’m writing this piece as a Baciwa consumer for the umpteenth time. Can I at least expect Water Watch to echo my complaints against this public water utility? Or are we consumers doomed to be at the mercy of Baciwa when its fail to deliver “safe and potable water?”

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