OFFICIALS of MetroPac Water Investment Corp. (MWIC) and Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) presented their latest joint venture project to the Iloilo City Council, Jan 9, 2017.
MIWD requested for the presentation in December 2017 and coincided with Mayor Jose Espinosa III’s request for the council to investigate in aid of legislation the P12.349-billion water distribution contract MIWD awarded to MWIC recently.
Espinosa particularly asked the SP to look into the deal’s effects on residents of the city and to consequently adopt an appropriate ordinance that will protect the welfare of the public.
Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon led the meeting along with Majority Floor Leader Ed Peñaredondo, Committee on Utilities chairperson R Leone Gerochi, Plaridel Nava, Joshua Alim, Liezl Joy Salazar, Ely Estante, and Mandrei Malabor.
MIWD general manager Imelda Magsuci and legal counsel Roy Villa lead the MIWD team while Jonet Sanalila, senior manager for public-private partnership in the Visayas, represented MWIC.
Nava asked for a copy of the joint venture agreement but Villa said they cannot publicly release a copy pending review by the Governance Commission for GOCCs (Government-Owned and –Controlled Corporations).
MWIC intends to spend a maximum of P12.6 billion to rehabilitate distribution facilities (P12.349 billion) and wastewater septage facility (P290 million) and looks forward to commencing the project in August 2018.
“We are more than capable to provide water services in Iloilo,” Sanalila assured the SP members after presenting the salient points of the 25-year deal, which include:
-Rehabilitation, operation, and expansion of existing distribution facilities;
-Increase in service coverage, water availability (24/70 and pressure;
-Development of new water sources beyond 170 million liters daily (mld);
-Construction of wastewater facilities, initially septage management;
-Reduction of NRW from 47 percent to 20 percent; and
-Automated billing and collection.
Sanalila candidly replied to the questions of the councilors, including rate increases, which will happen in the third year.
He said the probable rate increase on the third year of the deal is another P5, which would make the rate of the joint venture corporation at P25 per cubic meter.
Presently, MIWD intends to increase its rates to P20 per cubic meter.
The partners will commence with the project in August if no problem arises.
Meanwhile, Espinosa is bent on appointing a new set of MIWD Board of Directors citing a recent Supreme Court decision invalidating Presidential Decree 198, the legal basis of a 2013 court decision which transferred the power to appoint the directors from the city mayor to Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr.
Espinosa is also concerned with the pending rate increase of MIWD.
The mayor maintained that he is only doing his obligation saying “I don’t want to be accused of sitting on the problem.”
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