PPP is best option for Baciwa – lawyer

By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – A lawyer representing a consumers’ group here said that the public-private partnership (PPP) setup is the best option for Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa) to address water shortage and improve its system.

Enrique Tabino made this stand after the Baciwa Employees Union, the Social Action Center (SAC) of the Diocese of Bacolod, Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr., and some barangay officials here opposed the proposed joint venture of Baciwa and Primewater Infrastructure Corp.

Tabino said that PPP was the best option because the government can no longer finance improvements needed by government-owned and -controlled corporations like Baciwa.

While it is classified as a water district, Baciwa’s finances are limited insofar as its operation is concerned, he explained.

“The problem of the board now is how to improve the system kay bisan diin kamo subong magkadto wala sang serbisyo nga 24/7,” Tabino claimed.”

He said Baciwa has pending loan applications but these cannot be acted on because “wala sila sang kuhaon nga tubig.”

“Ang mga oppositor nagahambal nga may ara sa Murcia, but Murcia is limited to serve only Mansilingan kay indi man gid sila viable,” he stressed.

Tabino disclosed that in 1979, Baciwa availed of a P50-million loan from the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) to improve its system. Until now, Baciwa is still paying the interest only but there was no improvement.

He added that one of the concerns for the PPP is the water rate may increase but he said all water utilities are regulated by LWUA.

Several barangays here passed resolutions citing that the joint venture will be grossly disadvantageous to Baciwa, its employees, and residents.