Members of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan held a protest rally yesterday in front of the Bacolod City Water District Office opposing the proposed public-private partnership in the improvement of the water district’s non-revenue water (NRW) that they claim has reached P2.4 billion as of last year.
Christian Tuayon, secretary general of Bayan-Negros, said they oppose the move of BACIWA to enter into a partnership with private sectors because it may lead to its privatization.
Tuayon said privatization will have a domino effect with the consumers carrying the burden of increased water fees.
Baciwa director Lorendo Dilag reiterated yesterday that the majority of the Board of Directors, including Chairman of the Board Lawrence Villanueva, are not in favor of privatizing the water district.
“Although the NRW losses can already sail the Noah's Ark, there are other options being considered to address this matter by reducing the NRW and even expanding its coverage,” Dilag said.
Dilag also said Miya-Maynilad Water has submitted an unsolicited proposal to BACIWA and there should be a process to follow. Unfortunately, the management outrightly dismissed the proposal without giving it due process.
He said the application had not reached first base when it was disapproved by the management for fear of privatization.
Dilag said he, along with Villanueva and director Marichi Ramos were considering the proposal because it will address the deeply rooted problem on NRW which has already reached about P2.4 billion.
The management has not acted on this and the union and management were up in arms to oppose the proposal of Miya-Maynilad because they believe it is clothed with privatization, he said.
Dilag explained their stand before the employees of BACIWA yesterday during the flag ceremony and assured them that there is no way they will favor privatization.
He said he will resign should privatization prevail.
Dilag said Baciwa's actual situation is that it is in crisis. If this is not addressed, Baciwa will stagnate or even face bankruptcy.
This was reinforced by the recent decision of the Supreme Court in the Bawang vs. La Trinidad Water District where water districts no longer have exclusive rights to distribute bulk water, he said..
Dilag said there are subdivisions in Bacolod that produce and distribute their own water to home owners and there are also big companies that contemplate to engage in bulk water distribution. This is because Baciwa has not expanded its coverage.
“We went out to be vocal on the matter because we intend to be effective in our work as members of the board. We want to help Baciwa grow and not stagnate,” he said.
Dilag asked the employees of Baciwa to discern and be open to new options because this is for the greater good of the greatest number for a longer period of time.
He said the National Economic Development Authority has the final say on the matter.
Dilag said the board and management recommend to NEDA for approval. But if NEDA says it is disadvantageous, Baciwa can no longer push through the proposal of entering into a joint venture contractual agreement with Miya-Maynilad.*CGS