We need water, Bacolod mayor says

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Mayor Evelio Leonardia said water supply is important to the growth and development of the city amid opposition to the joint venture between the Bacolod City Water District and a private water firm.

Leonardia told reporters here also that he was informed in a recent presentation of Baciwa that the water utility firm has already issued a notice of award to Prime Water as its partner in the joint venture.

Prime Venture has also issued a notice of acceptance, Leonardia said, adding that the joint venture is already with the OGCC (Office of the Government Corporate Counsel) for review.

He said that if water supply cannot catch up, growth and development will be affected.

As of the moment Baciwa, which is already operating for 46 years, has a coverage rate of 54 percent, or only over one percent a year performance.

Leonardia also said that Baciwa will have a hard time coping with growth and development in the city because it only depends on water collections for resources.

Baciwa is saddled with financial woes due to loan interests.

The bottom line is we need water, Leonardia said adding that what is important is not the means but the end results in this particular case.

Leonardia also said that Baciwa board president Atty. Lorendo Dilag emphasized that it is a “contractual joint venture” between Baciwa and Prime Water, not a “corporate joint venture.”

“It means both Baciwa and Prime Water will continue to co-exist, it is not privatization,” the mayor said.

Leonardia also clarified that “not that I am in favor of the joint venture per se, but I am in favor of a scheme that will provide water to Bacolod for growth and development.”

The joint venture between Baciwa and Prime Water is for 25 years with the latter pouring in P6 billion to supply 90 percent of consumers in the city.

“I am after the water supply, the means is secondary,” Leonardia said.

Earlier, the Amlig- Tubig, an alliance of water consumers in the city, aired opposition to the joint venture claiming it would result in the privatization of the water firm.