3 barangays oppose Baciwa privatization plan
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.