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MIWD to resist LWUA takeover

 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) will resist any attempt of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) to take over the management of the water firm.

 

Engr. Adrian Moncada, MIWD director representing the professional sector, said LWUA has no legal basis for the reported takeover of the water utility which covers Iloilo City and several towns in Iloilo province.

 

Moncada said they were tricked when LWUA chair Prospero Pichay proposed that the Iloilo City Council declare a state of water crisis in the metropolis.

 

The council declaration, which was in the form of a resolution sponsored by Councilor Eduardo Peñaredondo, was meant to expedite procurement processes for the bulk water supply and other improvement works mulled by MIWD.

 

Peñaredondo’s resolution was approved during the council’s regular session two weeks ago.

 

“But that declaration of water crisis later became the basis of Pichay’s statement that LWUA will take over MIWD management if water supply in the city does not improve within a month. That is not the real intent of the declaration,” Moncada said.

 

Moncada, who is also the vice president for commercial operations of Global Business Power Corp., said the planned takeover will not bode well for MIWD after LWUA managed the water firm years back because of unpaid loans.

 

“The first takeover was legally sound because of the loan issue. But at present, what’s the real basis? And MIWD employees had bad experiences about the first takeover,” he added.

 

As regards the P198-million fund of the MIWD, Moncada said some P25 million was used to repair their facilities damaged by typhoon Frank last year.

 

Another P27 million is being used for ongoing improvements and repairs of the distribution lines, the cost of which could increase as the projects continue.

 

“The money does not lay idle. It is being used to improve our services with the entry of new board members. We even formulated a five-year development plan which will encompass our supply and distribution services. The remaining amount is not even enough for our future projects,” Moncada added.

 

Moncada replaced Atty. Eduardo Aguillon who resigned from the MIWD board. The two other new board members are Dr. Danny Encarnacion who represents the academe and Dr. Sergio Gonzalez for the civic sector. The other MIWD directors are Marissa Segovia (women sector) and Celso Javelosa (business sector).

 

Representatives from LWUA will arrive today to meet the MIWD board to discuss the firm’s management and its actions and plans to solve the acute water shortage in Iloilo City.

 

Moncada said they can seek technical assistance from LWUA “but the management of the water district is the responsibility of the board.”

 

BULK WATER SUPPLY

 

The top priority of MIWD’s five year management plan is the adoption of the bulk water supply which is expected to be implemented early next year.

 

Moncada said they are looking at two modes of contracting bulk water from potential suppliers: bidding under Republic Act 9184 (Philippine Procurement Act) or joint venture with a supplier.

 

The MIWD director said there are three possible interconnection points in the water grid which bulk suppliers can tap – San Miguel municipality and Brgys. Ungka and Tabuc Suba in Jaro, Iloilo City.

 

“We are now formulating the terms of reference for the bidding to be participated by potential suppliers. This scheme will spare MIWD of spending for infrastructure projects for its supply lines. We will now concentrate on improving our distribution lines,” Moncada said.

 

Aside from the bulk water supply mode, the MIWD 5-year plan will also attempt to improve water quality, standard pressure, affordable rates, reduction of non-revenue water (water lost to pilferage and distribution wastage), collection efficiency and organizational performance.

 

MIWD is also determining potential customers in the market and the growth rate in the next five years to address the water crisis in the city.

 

The water firm is also looking into underground water supplies “but we are having problems with some local government units who are demanding a portion of our revenues in the form of the so-called national wealth tax,” Moncada said. 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

LOOMING power and water crises are bugging the Iloilo City government this holiday season.

For one, the National Power Corp. (Napocor) has yet to install the 15 units of modular diesel power generator in Iloilo City to augment the metropolis’ electricity. With this, Mayor Jerry Treñas said he is apprehensive power blackouts will occur when the city celebrates Christmas and New Year.

Last year, the whole metropolis was plunged in darkness but Panay Electric Co. (Peco) and Panay Power Corp. said the outages were man-made and technical in nature.

The generator sets supposed to be installed before December in a Peco-owned lot at Brgy. Bolilao, Mandurriao are part of Napocor’s commitment to the city to supply 15 megawatts of power through a direct interconnection agreement with Peco mandated by the Energy Regulatory Commission.

Early this year, Napocor installed the first batch of the same 15 generator sets at the Capiz Electric Cooperative compound in Panit-an, Capiz to augment power supply in the province and parts of northern Iloilo.

This is in response to the order of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the Department of Energy and Napocor to solve the acute power shortage in Panay, especially in Iloilo City.

Meanwhile, Panay Power Corp. continues as the main supplier of electricity to Iloilo City which has currently a peak demand of 76MW. This December, the city’s power demand may exceed 90MW.

Aside from power shortage, the City government is also grappling with acute water shortage. The problem is more pronounced in the 11 Waterfront barangays who were supposed to meet the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) board of directors around 2pm Thursday. The meeting did not push through as the punong barangays walked out after an hour of waiting for the directors to meet them.

The meeting was aimed at resolving the water shortage at the Waterfront whose residents are now restive over MIWD’s minimum fee of P159. Residents said no water comes out of their faucets but they continue to pay the water firm.

Punong Barangay Roberto Divinagracia said Waterfront barangays are forced to buy water by the gallons from private sources.

Divinagracia, president of the Association of Barangay Captains-Iloilo City proper district, said they will make a position letter asking MIWD to waive the minimum fee until normal water supply returns to the waterfront area.

BILLING POLICY

In a news release issued yesterday, the MIWD issued a new billing policy on areas that have no water supply.

In consonance with the resolution passed by the MIWD board of directors the other day. the water firm decided to condone the payment of water bills in some MIWD service areas experiencing water shortage.

Engr. Edgar Calasara, MIWD officer-in-charge, said water bills which have zero to five cubic meter (0-5cu. m.) consumption reading shall not be delivered anymore provided that the water district’s engineering department certifies that such area has no water for the period.

Water bills that were delivered to concessionaires shall not be paid provided that said billing bears 0-5 cu. m. consumption reading and are certified by the Engineering Department as within an area without water supply for the period.

If the consumer has paid the bill in any authorized MIWD collecting banks or payment outlets, the amount shall be retained and considered advanced payment for future water bills.

Calasara said the policies shall be effective November 1 to December 31, 2008, unless extended by another board resolution.

He, however, said that consumers in areas where there is a steady supply of water are obliged to pay their monthly water bills.

Calasara also assured the consumers that MIWD is doing everything to fast track the permanent repair of its damaged pipe and the ongoing cleaning of its reservoir in order to restore water in areas where there is intermittent supply, particularly in Jaro and the Waterfront.

 

July 2020
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