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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, December 9, 2013
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Senate to investigate
Baciwa, Ramos says

Director Marichi Ramos of the Bacolod City Water District yesterday said BACIWA will be the first water utility to be investigated by the Senate and she is happy that, at least, the justice system in the Philippines is working.

This was her reaction to a resolution introduced by Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino “directing the appropriate Senate committees to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the implementation of local water districts of their projects and the participation of the Local Water Utilities Administration in the water supply provision in the countryside to protect consumers.”

The resolution said there is a need to inquire into the loans given by LWUA to a number of local water districts, like the Bacolod City Water District, which it had granted a loan of P537 million. Reports that here said it was haphazardly implemented, to the detriment of the consuming public.

It also said there is a need to revisit the provisions of existing laws, as well as, rules and regulations creating the local water district to protect the consumers from paying a higher amount for services not being efficiently rendered by these districts.

Ramos said she is happy this has reached the Senate. For many months they have been inquiring from the management of BACIWA about the loan, since the project it covered has not been completed. But they did not respond well, and even took it against her, she said.

BACIWA is implementing a water rate increase to keep up with its expenses. But Ramos said she will oppose it since it has not improved its services.

She said she is just happy that this concern was given a chance to be investigated by the Senate in the light of the pork barrel scam involving Napoles and other prominent issues.

As chairman of the Finance Committee of the BACIWA Board, Ramos had initially questioned the BACIWA management regarding the 47 percent systems losses and the implementation of a water system improvement project for BACIWA financed by a P537 million loan from LWUA.

She also filed a petition seeking the nullification of the letter-order of LWUA, denying her confirmation as representative of the professional sector in BACIWA, with urgent prayer for temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction.

The petition was filed by Ramos against Manuel Yoingco, officer-in-charge, Office of the Acting Administrator of the LWUA, acting Administrator Eduardo Santos and Juliana Carbon, general manager of the Bacolod City Water District, preventing them from implementing the letter of Yoingco denying the confirmation of her appointment and ordering her replacement/removal pending further orders from the Court.

Her petition is anchored on the ground that neither Yoingco and Santos have the authority or legal basis for denial of confirmation and for ordering her replacement/removal as director of BACIWA.

This came after Mayor Monico Puentevella ordered her removal as representative of the professional sector in the BACIWA Board deriving his alleged right from the letter of LWUA and appointing Ramiro Garcia Jr. to take away her post.*CGS

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