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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) has moved the awarding of contracts to three bulk water suppliers next year after the post qualification process of the bids and awards committee.

In an interview with Serbisyo Publiko hosted by Iloilo City Councilor Perla Zulueta over Sky Cable Sunday, Engr. Adrian Moncada, MIWD director, the bulk water supply contracts will be awarded January 2010.

Moncada said they expect the contractors to start working on their facilities by February 2010.

“Six months after we awarded the contract, we can expect 20,000 cubic meters of additional water from the suppliers,” Moncada said.

Maynilad Water Services Inc., Solerex Water Technologies, Inc. and Abejo Builders Corp. offered the lowest bid for four injection points where the bulk water supply will be transmitted.

Maynilad won the contract for the Pavia injection point, which has a capacity of 10,000 cu m, at P11.98 per cu m.

Solerex got the Leganes injection point (2,000 cu m) at P14.28 per cu m.

Abejo will supply 8,000 cu m of water through the San Miguel and Ungka (Jaro) injection points at P13.98 per cu m.

Dr. Danilo Encarnacion, MIWD director, said the suppliers can draw water from surface or underwater sources depending on the location of the injection points.

Encarnacion said the winning bidders will have to construct their own facilities such as water treatment facility.

The MIWD also clarified the issue raised by a municipal councilor of Pavia who claimed that they were bypassed in the bidding process.

Moncada said the bidding was internal to the MIWD and there is no need to seek clearance from the host towns.

“Once the winning bidders start constructing their facilities, they will have to seek regular permits and other clearances from the municipal government concerned,” Moncada said.

Moncada reiterated that they will not jack up water rates after the bulk water supply is implemented.

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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) urged the Iloilo City government to act on its application for waiver of excavation and restoration fees so it can start its project that will lessen leakages and losses.

Engr. Adrian Moncada, MIWD director, said they are ready to start their P28-million Non Revenue Water (NRW) reduction project but they have yet to secure a permit to excavate and restore from City Hall. NRW is water lost to leakages and pilferages.

If issued with the permit, the MIWD can dig city roads and sidewalks to repair leaks in its distribution pipes in the city.

The City Government, through the City Engineer’s Office, will restore the excavated areas using the excavation and restoration fee pegged at P350 per square meter.

Moncada said they filed a waiver of excavation and restoration fees with the Office of the City Mayor to cut on costs and maximize their resources on other improvement projects.

Moncada said they initially allocated P10.031 million for the NRW reduction project in Jaro and LaPaz districts. Based on their computation, MIWD will have to pay P5.877 million for the excavation and restoration fee alone.

Moncada said their application for waiver is still pending in the City Legal Office, which is delaying their NRW reduction project.

“The City Engineering District of the Department of Public Works and Highways has acceded to our request by reducing the excavation and restoration fee to P50 per sq m. If we can secure the permit from the City government soon, we can start the project and bring better service to our consumers,” he said.

City Hall sources said the City Treasurer’s Office is not amenable to the waiver as it will a reduction on substantial revenues.

Moncada said if the City government is not amenable to exempt MIWD from paying the fee, they are willing to pay P50 per sq m and restore the excavated areas.

“We will still pay the fee at a reduced rate and at the same time we will fix the roads we dug for the project. This project will redound to the benefit of Iloilo City residents anyway. And we will also use our savings on other projects,” Moncada said.

After the completion of the Jaro and LaPaz phase of the NRW Reduction project, Moncada said MIWD will fix its distribution lines in other districts.

Aside from the NRW reduction project, MIWD is also set to bid its bulk water requirement to five bidders.

The bulk water supply aims to improve water pressure, quality and quantity of MIWD’s supply.

“We foresee that 80% of our consumers will enjoy water supply with the right pressure, quality and quantity once the bulk water project is implemented in the next 4-6 months,” Moncada said.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE board of directors of the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) is looking into partnering with the private sector as part of its long term improvement plans. 

Celso G. Javelosa, MIWD board of directors chair, said they will pattern the collaboration after the public-private partnership (PPP) of the Iloilo City government.

Under the PPP setup, MIWD will invite a private firm that will handle the transmission and distribution operations of the water firm.

Javelosa said the PPP is different from privatization of government-owned and controlled firms.

It’s public-private partnership, not privatization. We will not sell out and let go of MIWD. We will only offer some operational aspects of the water district to private entities,” he added.

Engr. Adrian N. Moncada, MIWD director, said MIWD will maintain regulatory functions over the private sector partner to protect consumers’ interest.

Moncada said one advantage of the PPP setup is faster procurement procedure that will hasten their development projects.

Moncada said MIWD is compelled to follow Republic Act 9184 (Government Procurement Law) which slows down their plans to improve their supply and distribution systems.

One of the major development plans MIWD is implementing is the bidding of the bulk water supply which is seen to improve the pressure, volume and quality of water.

Five companies have signified their intention to join the bidding so far, Moncada said.

The MIWD eyes to distribute 45,000 cubic meters of water to 31,000 consumers in Iloilo City and neighboring towns.

The water firm produces a gross of 45,000 cu m a day from surface and underground sources.

 But MIWD can actually distribute only 26,100 cu m to consumers because some 42% of their production is considered non-revenue water (NRW) or water lost to leakages and pilferages.

Moncada said they will minimize NRW levels by 20-22% in the next 10 years.

“While we increase our volume, we will also reduce our losses. In the case of water utilities in Metro Manila, the average reduction in NRW is 2% per year. If that is our benchmark, we will try to reduce our losses by as much as 22% in 10 years,” Moncada said. 

De-annexation of towns from water district ‘not viable’

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE move of the Local Water Utilities Administration to convince five towns to sever ties with Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) is not viable and may spell trouble for these municipalities.

Celso Javelosa, MIWD board of directors chair, said they doubt if the towns of Maasin, Cabatuan, San Miguel, Oton and Pavia can muster the resources and expenses to put up their own water utilities.

Javelosa said the move of defeated senatorial candidate Prospero Pichay, now LWUA board chair, is contrary to LWUA’s mandate.

“The LWUA board is the policy-making body for water utilities. But what Pichay is doing is inimical to MIWD and the towns also,” Javelosa said.

Pichay has been cajoling the five towns to de-annex from MIWD because of the latter’s failure to address water shortage in its franchise area.

Pichay has been dangling P20 million to each local government unit for training and capacity-building in putting up their respective water utilities.

Engr. Edgar Manaay, an expert in the energy and water sectors, said local government units should be wary in falling for Pichay’s ploy.

Manaay cited the case of the water districts in Passi City and Dumangas which are facing financial problems.

Manaay said that except for Pavia which is at the tailend of both surface and underground water flow from the Tigum and Aganan river basins, the four other towns have no viable sources of water.

“It is the height of irresponsibility (for Pichay) as LWUA Board Chairman to prod the mayors who are more innocent than himself on matters of hydrology and water supply to separate from MIWD without a thorough technical analysis of its water resources,” Manaay said.

Engr. Adrian Moncada, MIWD director, said the five towns need to study the feasibility of establishing and maintaining their respective water districts.

“You have to spend hundreds of millions pesos to put up supply and distribution lines aside from looking for their own sources. And they also have to look into their client base, like in the case of San Miguel which only has 300 consumers. It will not be financially healthy to spend hundreds of millions when you will only earn less than a million a month,” Moncada said.  

But Moncada said they see some advantages if the five towns part ways from MIWD as consumers in the said area are subsidized by their clients in Iloilo City.

“If they detach from our service, we will stop subsidizing their consumers which is financially good for MIWD,” he added.

Javelosa said town-based water utilities are vulnerable to politics which might affect the financial management and maintenance of the firm.

Javelosa said they recognize Pichay’s effort to prod MIWD to improve its services but the latter was only good in “lip service.”

“Pichay promised us to help us dissuade the local governments of San Miguel and Oton from exacting royalties if we dig new ground wells but nothing happened to that promise. Pichay is even stirring the situation,” Javelosa said.

Javelosa said they were also surprised when Pichay recalled the sixth member of the MIWD board sent by LWUA.

Javelosa said they welcomed the sixth board member from LWUA to help in their medium- and long-term improvement plans.  

“We are not afraid of this threats and moves to dismember MIWD. We are doing everything to improve our services. As long as we are right and doing our job, we will not be bothered,” he added.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

FIVE bulk water suppliers have been accredited to join the bidding for the bulk water supply contract of Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD).

Adrian N. Moncada, a member of the MIWD board of directors, said the five suppliers who signified to join the bidding are Maynilad Water Services Inc., Manila Water Co., Rio Verde Water Consortium, Inc., Abejo Builders Corp., and Solerex Water Technologies, Inc.

Mr. Moncada said the five firms have submitted pre-bidding requirements to MIWD and have been accredited to bid for the bulk water supply next month.

Mr. Moncada said the bidders must satisfy three prerequisites to win the contract – quality, quantity and pressure.

Under the bulk water supply agreement, the winning bidder/s will look for its sources, establish the supply which will connect to MIWD’s four injection points in Jaro, Iloilo City and the towns of Leganes, San Miguel and Pavia.

Each injection point has corresponding volume capacity – Jaro (5,000 cubic meters), Leganes (2,000 cu m), San Miguel (3,000 cu m) and Pavia (10,000 cu m).  

According to Celso G. Javelosa, MIWD board chairman, they might award separate supply contracts to two to three bidders.

“The presence of multiple suppliers will also allow competition to kick in which will redound to affordable water rates to consumers,” Mr. Javelosa said at the sidelines of the MIWD board meeting last week.  

Mr. Moncada said the bidders must specify in their tenders the price per cubic meter and the injection point where they intend to transmit their water supply.  

“The bid price must not exceed the approved budget for construction of P15 per cubic meter which is stipulated in the terms of reference of the bidding,” Mr. Moncada said.

The MIWD is eyeing to contract some 20,000 cubic meters of water to serve part of its 31,000 consumers in Iloilo City and neighboring towns.  

Some 74% or 23,000 MIWD consumers are based in Iloilo City while the other consumers are spread in the towns of Pavia, Sta. Barbara, Cabatuan, Maasin, San Miguel and Oton.  

Mr. Moncada said the additional 20,000 cu m supply from bulk contractors will serve an additional 23% of their total consumers.

Mr. Javelosa said they must distribute 45,000 cu m of water to MIWD consumers.

“During our strategic and diagnostic planning, we realized that we have shortage because of leakages and low pressure. The bulk water supply is one of the measures that we considered to address these problems,” Mr. Javelosa said.

Warren D. Palermo, MIWD operations chief, said the water firm produces a gross of 45,000 cu m a day from surface and underground sources.   

But MIWD can actually distribute 26,100 cu m to consumers because some 42% of their production is considered non-revenue water (NRW).  

Mr. Palermo said NRW is due to technical and physical losses. Physical losses are brought about by faulty lines which are not yet rehabilitated, while technical losses are due to faulty water meters.  

Pilferages also account for water supply losses, Mr. Palermo said.

He said they have already rehabilitated almost all systems except in the area of Lapuz, Iloilo City.

Mr. Palermo added that they were not able to restore 100 percent of their system’s pressure before Typhoon Frank hit last year because of changes in the water flow from the Maasin watershed.  

Heavy siltation in MIWD’s treatment plant in Sta. Barbara town also affected water quality.

NO RATE HIKE

When asked if the bulk water supply contract will hike rates, Mr. Javelosa said they will not increase charges on consumers, especially if non-water revenue (water lost to pilferage and leakages) is reduced.

Based on MIWD’s terms of reference on the bulk water supply contract, the bidders must not exceed the P15 approved rate of construction.   

The MIWD presently charges P15.90 for the first 10 cu m consumed by its clients. 

Mr. Javelosa said major water suppliers took interest in Iloilo City because they saw potentials in the metropolis.

“They saw that there is available market which can increase the next years. They also saw potential source of water which will make their projects easier,” Mr. Javelosa said.

OTHER SOURCES

Aside from the bulk water supply, Mr. Moncada said they are looking for surface water sources to augment their supply.

Mr. Moncada said MIWD’s ground well sources in San Miguel and Oton are already depleting.

A recent study by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) showed salt water intrusion in the aquifers of Oton. Also, the replenishment rate of aquifers in San Miguel slowed down resulting in decreased water production.

Mr. Moncada said they are also considering the P15-billion Jalaur River Multi Purpose Project (JRMPP) of the National Irrigation Administration as another source of water.

Mr. Moncada said the JRMPP allocated some 80,000 cu m of water to MIWD which can sustain the water firm’s requirement in the next 50 years.

Other potential bulk water resources being eyed by MIWD is the Sibalom River system in southern Iloilo and the Tinagong Dagat lake in the town of Lambunao, Iloilo. 

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

THE new president of an influential business organization in the country vowed to help the city and province of Iloilo rise to economic prominence provided that problems on power and water shortage are solved first.

 

Alfonso Uy, the newly elected president of the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (FFCCCII), said the two problems besetting Iloilo must be solved first to encourage investors to come to the city and the province.

 

“Many investors are interested in Iloilo but they are hesitant because of our unstable and expensive power and water supplies,” Uy said in a phone interview with The Daily Guardian Monday.

 

Uy was elected FFCCCII president April 6 during the federation’s 27th Biennial Convention at the SMX Convention Center at the Mall of Asia in Pasay City. He is the first Visayan president of the federation.

 

FFCCCII is composed of 170 member organizations nationwide and one of the most influential business organization in the Philippines today.

 

Uy also chairs the Iloilo Economic Development Foundation (ILEDF) which promotes the city and province of Iloilo as the future investment site in the country.

 

Uy said they are pushing for projects which are “fundamentally needed to promote Iloilo.”

 

“One good news is the construction of the coal-fired power plant of the Global Business Power Corp. (GBPC). We expect the price and supply of electricity in the city and province to stabilize once the project is completed and goes online between October and November 2010,” Uy said.

 

Engr. Adrian Moncada, GBPC vice president for commercial operations, told the Iloilo business community in a forum on power issues last Friday that the 164-megawatt power plant will be completed in the last quarter of 2010.

 

“Landfill development is currently ongoing in the 24-hectare site and actual construction will start by July or August this year,” Moncada said. 

 

As regards water supply, Uy said they are looking at the long-term supply that will cater to big investments in Iloilo.

 

He cited the integrated irrigation system project of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) which got the support of the World Bank.

 

The NIA project will construct a water dam in Lambunao which has capacity of 360 million cubic meters. The project will also create an irrigation canal system.

 

“The integrated irrigation project will irrigate our farmlands the whole year and supply water to Iloilo City and the towns along the distribution lines. It will mean increase in agricultural production and stable water supply,” Uy said.

 

ILEDF has requested NIA to revisit the study on the integrated irrigation project to find out if it’s still feasible.

 

“We have to revalidate the data of the study to find out if it’s still feasible nowadays to address the water shortage,” Uy said.

 

Uy said solving the power and water problems are the key to Iloilo’s prominence in “sunshine industries” such as the business processes outsourcing sector.

 

“If we solve these concerns, it would be easy to attract members of the business community to invest in Iloilo,” he added.

 

Two years ago, a major call center investor moved to Bacolod City because of high power rates in Iloilo City.

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