Investors forum for Capitol’s bulk water project slated in June 2023

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Negros Occidental Provincial Administrator Atty. Rayfrando Diaz said Tuesday the provincial government is eyeing to hold an investors’ forum in June 2023 for all interested investors of its bulk water project.

“With the way things are going, everybody is excited as many have expressed interest in submitting their unsolicited proposals for the project, I have requested our consultants to expedite the procedures,” Diaz said.

He also confirmed that representatives of a company by billionaire Enrique Razon met with him Friday last week.

Early this month, Aboitiz Infra Capital made a presentation to Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Bacolod City Mayor Albee Benitez regarding the project.

He said the firm is eyeing to invest P2.8 billion in the project and it will take two to three years to complete it.

“They will submit their unsolicited proposal within the month of February,” Diaz said.

Aside from Aboitiz and the Razon group, Diaz said the Ayala group has also expressed interest in the project.

“Right now we are studying the terms of reference with our consultants. They are looking at the legality and viability financially especially if it is possible that the tariff rates will not increase,” Diaz said.

“We want to hold a bidding for the project earlier than the schedule in July adding that “it will make the governor happy. In the long run, the people of the local government units (LGU) who will get water from our project will also be happy,” he added.

Diaz further said the congressional districts are also willing to extend counterpart funding to the projects as the province is looking into ways to lower capital expenditures (CAPEX) which will translate to lower water tariffs on consumers.

“This project is for the Negrenses not to suffer from the high cost of their utilities,” Diaz pointed out.

He also said that the provincial government does not want private interests “to dominate the contract of the bulk water project.”

“Public interests should always be considered especially in the rates,” he said.

Tariff rates “should not be so expensive,” Diaz said.

“What is expensive water if it affects our people? The governor does not just want to have water but water rates that are reasonable.”