Group demands inclusive approach to BACIWA venture

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – Convenors of the AMLIG-TUBIG, a multi-sectoral water consumers’ alliance group, demanded from Bacolod City Water District-Board of Directors (BACIWA-BOD) an “inclusive approach” to a proposed joint venture with a private water firm.

Father Chris Gonzales, former Congressman Pete Pico, and Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr. said they want the inclusion of all water consumers in a public hearing and consultation in all matters regarding the contract to be entered into by BACIWA with Prime Water Infrastructure Corporation (Prime Water).

They said the BACIWA Joint Venture Selection Committee (BACIWA-JVSC) approved Resolution No. 18 recommending to the BOD the operation, development, financing expansion, improvement, rehabilitation, maintenance of water supply and septage management systems of the water district to Prime Water.

Gamboa explained that the next step is for BACIWA-BOD to issue a “Notice to Proceed” and the “contract signing” with Prime Water.

He urged BACIWA to include the water-consuming public ln the discussion of the merits of the Terms of Reference (TOR) and the provisions of the contract with Prime Water through the conduct of several proper public hearings.

AMLIG TUBIG had earlier manifested for an official copy of the TOR after the issuance of a Certificate of Successful Negotiation duly signed by the BACIWA-JVSC and accepted by Prime Water which will now be the basis of discussions.

It was likewise brought out that “for almost a year now, AMLIG TUBIG’s urging for an inclusive (all must be involved), open and transparent public hearing and consultation to said contract signing process and procedure were met with denials, justifications, and challenges for reason of confidentiality but now that the matter is at its clearest level that the Prime Water is the winning water private proponent to operate BACIWA therefore, all official documents must be disclosed.”

Cognizant that the BACIWA-BOD spent three long years of careful and extensive planning regarding the problems of BACIWA therefore AMLIG TUBIG is asking for the official copies of related Business Plans and Feasibility Studies.

AMLIG TUBIG likewise asked for the Appraisal Report of all BACIWA properties and assets.

Meantime, AMLIG TUBIG urged the BACIWA-BOD for a full-blown investigation of the P68-million and P537-million loans contracted by BACIWA with the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) which the BOD itself said that there were management lapses in the management of said loans.

AMLIG TUBIG, on the other hand, thanked the warm reception and accommodation extended to them by the BACIWA-BOD last January 30-31, 2020.

Gamboa stressed, however, that it was a courtesy meeting and a form of data gathering for each AMLIG TUBIG convenors to assimilate and process the presentations given.

“There is a need for said presentation to be brought to the consuming public in several and separate public hearings and consultation.”