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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, July 29, 2016
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Baciwa serving only
53% in Bacolod

Bacolod City Water District should improve its services since water is not just essential but it is a basic necessity, Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said yesterday.

If Baciwa is servicing 53 percent of the total population of Bacolod City it means that about 47 percent have not yet been serviced, which is about half of the population, Leonardia said.

They called for a public hearing because of the many complaints of the residents of the city, he said.

Leonardia said that, based on the presentation of Baciwa, its projections are still not yet certain and the critical part is the bulk water supply project which is supposedly a solution to the situation. They are not sure whether it will become a reality, based on the issues raised by the different sectors during the forum yesterday, he said.

Leonardia said the bulk water and non-revenue water should be reconciled. He said that if Baciwa implements the project and the old pipes have not been replaced with bigger ones, there might be a problem.

Baciwa general manager Mario Macatangay said they are confident that they can provide sufficient supply of water when the bulk water supply project is implemented by October 2017.

To bridge the gap and to fill the water shortage, they are drilling six additional wells and two have been completed in Vista Alegre and Villa Alexandria. The third well will be in Granada, he said.

Macatangay said they have identified Handumanan phase 6 and have talked with Bacolod Housing Authority and Brgy. Captain Febe Legaspi for the site. They are also negotiating for a well in Woodside Subdivision to re-drill in the area and are also negotiating for 100-square meter lot behind the government center.

Leonardia, however, is not amenable to the proposal.

Macatangay said the demand is 47 million liters per day while their supply is only 43 million liters. They produce about 62 million liters per day but because of losses in the system, the available supply is only 43 million liters per day, he said.

He said during peak hours there are areas with no water, some with very low pressure and there are also areas that suffer.

Until December of this year they can supply the average demand because of the deep wells. But for peak hours there will be water shortage. If the bulk water supply project is implemented there will be sufficient supply, Macatangay said.

They have a request for rate increase with Local Water Utilities Administration which it is studying and processing. But should LWUA approve it, the management will not recommend it to the Board for implementation unless they can improve on their supply, he said.

Macatangay said the increase may be less than 10 percent or about P40 for the first 10 cubic meters.

Leonardia said one of his observations is that Baciwa is 88 percent dependent on wells which he believes will not be good for the environment. The management should resolve the NRW and bulk water the soonest possible time, he said.

Leonardia also expressed doubts on the competence of the members of the Baciwa Board. “Besides I have questions on the morality and legality of their stay there,” he said citing the pending cases of Marichi Ramos and Lawrence Villanueva who will push through with their rights.

He hopes the problem in Baciwa will be resolved, he added.

Leonardia said that, with regards the sixth member of the Board, he believes this may have contributed to more confusion. According to information, there is no basis for LWUA to push for its sixth member in the Board since Baciwa may have no outstanding loan for it to push for a six member. We are studying the matter, he said.

Meanwhile, Councilor Cano Tan questioned the appointment of Macatangay by the LWUA as general manager of Baciwa and also asked him for a copy of their contract with the bulk water supplier.

Tan also questioned Baciwa's poor services and inadequate water supply despite the loan it obtained of about half a million. He said several areas in the city are complaining of no water to low water pressure.

He also pointed out that the faucets in his four establishments in the downtown area have no water and because only air comes out of its faucets, he is thinking of converting his business into the biggest vulcanizing station.

Aside from the bulk water supply project that was awarded by Baciwa to Mactan Rocks, other issues raised during the public hearing were the loan obtained by Baciwa of P537 million, and the bidding for its deep well project.

The public hearing was attended by city officials, present and past officials of Baciwa, and its union, and the different sectors.*CGS




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