3 barangays op­pose Baciwa pri­va­ti­za­tion plan

Sun Star Bacolod - - Top Stories -

THREE barangays in Ba­colod City joined the move of Baciwa Em­ployee’s Union (BEU) to op­pose the pro­posed joint ven­ture or public-pri­vate part­ner­ship of Ba­colod City Wa­ter Dis­trict (Baciwa).

These are Barangays Tan­gub, Sum-ag, and Pa­hanocoy.

Leny Espina, Pres­i­dent of BEU, said the of­fi­cials of the three barangays had passed a res­o­lu­tion last week op­pos­ing the pro­posed pri­va­ti­za­tion of Baciwa.

“This is their re­sponse on our cam­paign to op­pose the pri­va­ti­za­tion of Baciwa,” she said.

The barangay of­fi­cials said that the joint ven­ture will be a great dis­ad­van­tage not only to Baciwa and its em­ploy­ees, but most im­por­tantly to their re­spec­tive barangays.

“Wa­ter as our ba­sic needs should be­long to our peo­ple through the gov­ern­ment, and not be al­lowed to be con­trolled and prof­ited by those who were be­hind this joint ven­ture who have their own per­sonal in­ter­est on it,” they said.

They added that as soon as the joint ven­ture will be ap­proved, a 12 per­cent val­ueadded tax (Vat) will be ap­plied to wa­ter de­liv­ered to the con­sumers which cur­rently does not ex­ist.

Espina said it would be detri­men­tal to their con­stituents and to all the res­i­dents of Ba­colod to al­low the pro­posed joint ven­ture be­tween Baciwa and Prime Wa­ter In­fra­struc­ture Corp.

While tech­ni­cally and legally short of to­tal pri­va­ti­za­tion, she said the joint ven­ture would have the same ef­fect as it gives Prime Wa­ter full con­trol of op­er­a­tion and man­age­ment, rel­e­gat­ing Baciwa to a mere com­pli­ance mon­i­tor­ing unit.

Espina pointed out that the real rea­son for the short­fall of sup­ply is the pref­er­ence of Baciwa’s pol­icy mak­ers and man­agers for drilling deep wells, which have de­pleted Ba­colod’s ground­wa­ter re­sources, in­stead of tap­ping the abun­dant sur­face wa­ter of nearby mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties like Tal­isay, Mur­cia and Bago.

“But now, our barangays re­al­ize the se­ri­ous­ness of the prob­lem and agree that the so­lu­tion to this is not the sur­ren­der of Baciwa to vested in­ter­est,” Espina said.

She said the pri­va­ti­za­tion of Baciwa is re­ally a dis­ad­van­tage to the con­sumers as well as to the wa­ter dis­trict em­ploy­ees.

“We are op­pos­ing the pro­posed joint ven­ture or pri­va­ti­za­tion be­cause this is not good for the peo­ple of Ba­colod that the pri­vate com­pany will han­dle the wa­ter dis­trict. This will af­fect the wa­ter rate so it should be man­aged by the gov­ern­ment,” she added.

Espina dis­closed that pri­va­ti­za­tion will also af­fect the 510 em­ploy­ees in­clud­ing the job or­der ca­su­als be­cause they do not have an as­sur­ance if they will be ab­sorbed by the new man­age­ment.

Lawyer Lorendo Di­lag, chair­man of Baciwa Board, ear­lier said the Baciwa Board is against pri­va­ti­za­tion and a joint ven­ture is not pri­va­ti­za­tion.

He said the Prime Wa­ter has passed with all the le­gal, tech­ni­cal and fi­nan­cial re­quire­ments of the Joint Ven­ture Se­lec­tion Com­mit­tee.

He added the wa­ter dis­trict has been trans­par­ent with all the pro­ce­dures fol­low­ing the un­so­licited pro­posal sub­mit­ted by Prime Wa­ter.

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