By: Emme Rose Santiagudo
DISPUTE over payables, fines, and other contractual matters between Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) and one of its bulk water suppliers has led to intermittent or low water supply in heavily populated areas of the city and province of Iloilo.
But the management of MIWD said the situation is under control despite the decision of the Florete-led Flo Water Resources Inc. to stop its 15,000-cubic meter daily supply requirement to the district.
In a press conference on Thursday, MIWD warned of low water pressure in Brgy. Tabuc Suba in Jaro, Iloilo City to Leganes, Iloilo.
The most affected areas will be from Tabuc Suba going to Leganes but in some areas like La Paz, Pavia, and even in Iloilo City gina-validate pa ang data. The most affected areas do not necessarily mean na wala tubig but very low lang ang pressure, said Engr. Jerry Guillergan, officer-in-charge (OIC) of MIWDs Engineering Department.
According to Amarylis Josephine Castro, officer-in-charge at the office of the General Manager of MIWD, they were informed that Flo Water disconnected its supply starting at 8:14 a.m. on June 5, 2019.
Flo Water decided to stop supplying water to MIWD to protest the P1.5-million fine imposed by the latter for violating water quality parameters in their bulk water supply agreement.
The disconnection was based on our penalty that was charged by Flo Water amounting to P1,589, 452.34 after they delivered dis-colored water from April 7-16, 2019. Our payment was ahead of the due date which was supposedly June 22, 2019. They wrote us a letter protesting us the penalty but we cannot do otherwise because it was embodied in the contract that the color is part of the quality, Castro said.
The dis-colored water is being blamed on the molasses spill incident in a sugar central in San Enrique, Iloilo which contaminated the Jalaur River, Flo Waters main source of raw water.
In a letter to MIWD dated June 3, 2019, the Florete-owned firm said the water district should pay P1.5 million, not the other way around.
Flo Water said that MIWD should pay the amount by June 4, 2019 otherwise, we will resort to all actions necessary to protect and/or vindicate our rights.
But Castro emphasized that Flo Water should stick with the contract since a similar incident happened before where MIWD was given a free pass. As a result, the MIWD board was held accountable and slapped with a notice of disallowance by the Commission on Audit (COA).
MIWD legal counsel Roy P. Villa said that water color is part of the physico-chemical analysis which is considered as one of the parameters in their contract.
Sa amon contract, isa sa mga parameters on water quality is physico-chemical analysis and it includes color so ang taga MIWD nagsunod lang sa contract. The physico-chemical analysis through laboratory examination showed that they really failed. Their water which was supposed to enter their water pump got infected of molasses which was flushed out to the river by a private corporation. Pagwa na sang tubig, amo to daw nag-brown, he said.
Villa said Flo Waters decision to cut the supply would mean a de facto cancellation of the bulk water supply contract.
This is an unfortunate development with respect to the implementation of the bulk water supply contract between MIWD and Flo Water. There seems to be a de facto cancellation of the contract, because the contract was essentially entered to supply water, now it has been cut off .The contract now is no longer operating. There has been termination of the contract, Villa stressed.
According to Villa, MIWD is now looking at several legal remedies following the disconnection.
It depends on Flo Water if they wish to reconnect kay sila man nag-utod. We will go back to the contract kon ano ang legal remedies. There are several remedies we will have to wait for the best legal remedy to undertake with the latest development, he said.
Flo Water supplies 15,000 cubic meters to MIWD daily but Castro said the disconnection would only lead to a 4,000-cubic meter reduction in their total supply.
Castro said it is providential that the their other bulk water supplier, Metro Iloilo Bulk Water of the Pangilinan group, has expanded the capacity of MIWDs water treatment plant in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo from 37 million liters per day (MLD) to 50 MLD.
Its just that we were caught unaware by Flo Waters decision because of some maintenance work, the reason for the sudden low supply. But we were able to stabilize the situation and we are now rescheduling the supply system, she added.
Castro also assured the public that the situation is under control and that they will be resorting to water rescheduling to balance the system.
We will be doing a reschedule. We would like to appeal to the public that its not our fault. It was Flo water that disconnected the water supply without proper notice. We are doing our best to minimize the impact of disconnection, she said.
Villa said the joint venture agreement of MIWD with Metro Pacific Water Investments Corp. (Metro Pacific Water would also ensure improved water supply to the consumers.
May ara na kita joint venture agreement with Metro Pacific, and under our agreement, they are obligated to improve the supply of water. We are banking on that nga ma-improve gid ang tubig, he said.