Bacolod targets 24/7 water supply for 88% of households

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD CITY — Approximately 88 percent of households in Bacolod City are expected to receive a 24/7 water supply by the end of this year, with new bulk water sources coming online.

Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez announced this goal during his second State of the City Address (SOCA) at the Bacolod City Government Center (BCGC) last Wednesday.

“I made it very clear: we want 24/7 uninterrupted water supply in all areas they serve,” Benitez said, warning the Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa)-PrimeWater that he is monitoring their progress towards these targets.

Benitez noted that in 2023, only 45 percent of covered households had a 24-hour water supply, a number that further declined due to El Niño.

The current administration swiftly intervened, calling Baciwa-PrimeWater to a water summit to focus on increasing the water supply and urging them to fast-track projects for additional sources.

As a result, Benitez reported an improvement in water supply, citing a record-high production of 84 million liters per day (MLD), the highest in Bacolod’s history.

Approximately 10,000 households in the southern area of the city will receive enhanced water supply this year following the signing of a bulk water supply agreement with Bacolod Bulk Water Inc. (BBWI) and Baciwa-PrimeWater last month.

Benitez earlier stated that the city’s targeted water supply to achieve 24/7 service is 120 MLD.

“To Baciwa-PrimeWater, gina-bantayan ko kamo. Sunda nyo gid ang deadlines niyo” (I’m watching over you. You must follow the deadlines you’ve set), he said.

In his SOCA, Benitez also discussed his intervention with the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to expedite the approval of the Power Supply Agreement between the Central Negros Electric Cooperative (Ceneco) and the Energy Development Corp. (EDC), addressing frustrations over high electricity rates.

He reported a decrease in power rates from P15.16 per kilowatt-hour in May to P12.76 in June, expressing hope for further reductions.

Benitez welcomed the entry of the Negros Electric and Power Corporation (NEPC), anticipating significant investment in modernizing the city’s power distribution infrastructure.

“As we transform Bacolod City into a Super City, we need affordable, reliable, sustainable energy,” Benitez said, emphasizing the need for a distribution utility capable of meeting the demands of the growing economy, including IT-Business Processing Outsourcing, tourism, and creative industries.

He also mentioned the near completion of installing solar panels with a 400-kilowatt capacity on the roof of the BCGC, reducing the city’s electricity expenses by 50 percent. This will be followed by the installation of solar panels in 16 barangays.

Benitez highlighted the opening of Government Services Express (GSE) at SM City Bacolod and the Bacolod Express Service Office (BESO) at Ayala Malls Capitol Central as part of the city’s smart solutions.

These one-stop shops provide services such as tax payments, business permits, and senior citizen and PWD ID cards.

Since opening in June 2023, GSE has served 50,728 individuals, while BESO has served 47,367 since December last year. These offices operate seven days a week, including holidays, for public convenience.

Benitez also introduced a QR code system to prevent scams in processing permits and licenses and emphasized the use of smart innovations for service improvement and economic development.

He stressed the importance of adopting clean technology to ensure sustainable development and combat climate change.

In waste management, Benitez noted Bacolod generated 214,000 tons of garbage last year, a figure expected to reach 252,000 tons in ten years.

The city aims to improve waste collection and promote recycling, with plans to build the Bacolod Integrated Recycling and Teaching Hub on a 25-hectare property in Barangay Felisa.

The hub will include a tree park and be designed as an ecopark. “Kon sang una, ang perception sang landfill, baho kag higko. Subong, gina-design ta sya to be an ecopark that Bacolod can be proud of. It will be a place for tourists and educational trips,” Benitez said.

The city’s flood control program includes dredging creeks and rivers, constructing pumping stations and floodgates, and investing P186 million in drainage improvement.

Benitez emphasized the need to prepare and adapt to climate change and rising sea levels.

Benitez also promoted electric vehicles to reduce pollution and carbon emissions, launching green routes in the city. He announced the dry-run of these routes from Arao-Abada to Burgos Market and Barangay Cabug to Libertad Market.

To improve traffic, the Bacolod Traffic Authority Office (BTAO) has been reconstituted into the Bacolod Traffic and Transport Management Department. This elevation aims to strengthen the enforcement of traffic and parking rules.

Benitez mentioned Car-Free Sundays along Lacson Street from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. to encourage walking, jogging, and biking.

“A Super City moves people, not cars. This is not just for the environment, but also for our health,” he said.

The city aims to enhance the quality of life for Bacolodnons by promoting active and healthy lifestyles, organizing sports and fitness activities.

Benitez highlighted the first-ever citywide sports fest at Panaad Stadium last May, with 17,000 participants, the largest local sports event in the city’s history.

“A Super City needs Super People – and it begins with having an active lifestyle through sports,” he concluded.


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