City Council okays water franchise of Lucio Tan firm

Lucio Tan (Photo from

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

THE Sangguniang Panlungsod on Tuesday granted a non-exclusive franchise to Lucio Tan’s New Earth Water System, Inc. (NEWS), a subsidiary of Boracay Tubi System Inc. and one of the two water service providers in Boracay Island.

NEWS is the fourth firm to secure the water franchise from the city council after South Balibago Resources, Inc. (SBRI), Prime Water Infrastructure Corp of the Villar  Group and Manila Water Philippine Ventures, Inc. (MWPV)-Tubig Pilipinas Group, Inc. (TPGI) of the Ayalas.

According to Councilor Plaridel Nava, chair of the committee on public utilities, the ordinance and provisions granted to New Earth Water System Inc. was almost similar to the ones initially granted to MWPV-TPGI and Prime Water.

“It’s almost the same ordinance that we granted to Manila Water and Prime Water except the areas of coverage that were deleted. We want to be consistent. If we compare it to Prime Water, the Prime Water asked a certain period to distribute but this New Earth Water System Inc., they are yet to agree and except for that, it’s the same ordinance,” Nava said.

Nava said the New Earth Water would be the last water concessionaire that would be granted by SP a franchise until they see the effect of the operations of the two other water concessionaires.

“I think this would be the last. I already discussed this to other members of the SP. Hulaton naton ang guidelines kay basi damo-damo na aplikante. Gusto ko anay maumpisa ang Prime Water and Manila Water,” he said.

In previous interviews, Nava said they will put a moratorium on granting franchises on water concessionaires.

“We will put a moratorium, lantawon ta anay epekto sang paggrant ta sang franchise,” he said.

He added that two other applicants have expressed their intent to supply water in the city.

The increasing number of water concessionaires wanting to supply water in the city means that the current water distributor in the city, Metro Water Iloilo District cannot supply the water need of the metro, according to Nava. 

“Damo interested mag-businesss diri sa siyudad, that simply shows indi kaya sang MIWD magsupply diri sa siyudad,” he said.

MIWD is the main water supplier of the city.

To recall, MIWD has filed cases in court against the Iloilo City government, SBRI, and Prime Water to question the SP’s authority to grant water franchise.

But this time, MIWD legal counsel Roy Villa said they will have to wait for the result of the elections before undertaking their legal actions against the issuance of the franchise.

“Just the previous water franchises issued by the SP, legal actions may be undertaken against the issuance and the responsible city officials. But, we will wait for the result of the elections. What can be achieved by legal means may be achieved by political means,” Villa told the Daily Guardian through text message.