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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, March 7, 2013
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Baciwa denies irregularities
Bacolod City Water District general manager Julie Ann Carbon said they have been transparent in their transactions and that there is no irregularity in their operations.

She was reacting to the claims of newly appointed member of the Baciwa Board Marichi Ramos who said she is opposing the plans of Baciwa to secure a new loan while it still has a previous unsettled loan of P537 million for its expansion program.

Carbon said they are willing to enlighten Ramos about the concerns she raised on the operation of the water district particularly on loans, and privatization.

On the issue of Phase III of their expansion project involving the P537 million availed of in previous years, Carbon said no certificate of acceptance and project completion had yet been issued to Green Asia, the contractor.

She said the contractor and Baciwa have not fully agreed on the conditions for the completion of the project and only P290 million was released to them.

She also said there is no irregularity in their purchase water meters because it jived with their specifications and cost less than the ones they are using. It also took seven months to complete the bidding, she added.

Meanwhile, the officials of the BACIWA Employees Union-National Federation of Labor Union said there is no collusion between them and the management of Baciwa, as claimed by Ramos.

Claudio Salmo, president of the BEU-NAFLU, said the union is a militant group and has never allowed itself to be controlled by the management of Baciwa.

Ramos said she learned that the employees of Baciwa are opposing her appointment before the Local Water Utilities Administration and their petition was allegedly delivered by former Baciwa chairman Pompeyo Querubin.

Salmo said they are questioning her qualification after she, and two other members of the Board, reversed a Dec. 20, 2012 Board Resolution that rejected two solicited proposals of the Manila Water Company and MIYA-Maynilad to go for the in-house project (for the non-revenue water reduction program of Bacolod City).

He said that after the resolution was reversed on February 25, Maynilad proposed reducing its project cost from P1.4 billion to P900 million, while the Manila Water Co. had offered P444 million.

George Arca, a member of the board of BEU-NAFLU, said the feasibility study of the engineers of Baciwa, that Ramos is opposing, states that it will only cost P292 million to undertake the program, which will be implemented phase by phase.

Ramos, who joined the Baciwa Board in January, said she is against privatization and she is opposing the plan of Baciwa to secure another loan amounting of about P400 million.

Salmo said she is opposing P400 million but is catering to the P900 million offer of Maynilad.

He claimed that Ramos, Lorendo Dilag and Lawrence Villanueva of the Baciwa Board, approved a resolution on February 21 reconsidering the previous (December 20) Resolution rejecting the proposals of Maynilad and Manila Water Company.

Joevanni Padilla, a member of the BEU board of directors, said their engineers claim they will be able to fully pay the loan after seven years.

Arca said some members of the Baciwa Board are pushing for public-private partnership, which the union is opposing, because it will lead to privatization.*CGS

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