Militants slam Iloilo’s water district privatization

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WATER CRISIS | For the past few weeks, Iloilo City was back on the line of being waterless. Residences have to bear the brunt of the high cost of water deliveries from private commercials and Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) public faucets./ Photo from here.

ILOILO City – The looming water supply shortage in the City of Iloilo continuously inflicts heavy burden among Iloilo residences and commercial establishments. For the past few weeks, Iloilo City was back on the line of being waterless. Residences have to bear the brunt of the high cost of water deliveries from private commercials and Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) public faucets.

In April 21, Iloilo City Council prompted to declare the city under a “state of imminent water crisis” due to residences and businesses complaints of current water shortage and the projected prolonged drought. A budget amounting to 3 million pesos will then be released for water rationing when Iloilo City will be declared under the state of calamity.

The local government of Iloilo and the national government pushed for the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) or privatization scheme of Metro Iloilo Water System (MIWD) as a solution to the long running problem of water shortage and the management corruption and inefficiency.

MIWD, a government controlled corporation contracted two private bulk water suppliers the Flo Water Resources and Prime Water Ventures Corp. to help solve the problem of water shortage by providing 25,000 cubic meters per day. The partnership of MIWD particularly with the Flo Water as the sole water supplier for Iloilo City commenced last August 21, 2011.

However, in August 2014, MIWD paid at least Php5 million to Flo Waters for the resumption of water supply. Flo Waters stopped delivering water for almost a week for MIWD’s non-payment of arrears costing Php100 million which made the public suffered.

Changes in the membership and officers of the Board of Directors were also made starting September 2013 through the court ruling that Governor Arthur Defensor be the one to appoint MIWD Board Member.

Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. only completed the MIWD organizational overhauling by appointing Atty. Juanito Acanto representing the professional sector, Dr. Jessica C. Salas of the women sector, Dr. Teodoro Robles of the academe sector, and Architect Ramon Singson of the civic sector in January of this year. Iloilo City Representative Jerry Trenas and Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. believe that these new set of officers can help MIWD recover from the water shortage problem.

However, problem of water shortage remained and consumers left helpless again. The declaration of Iloilo City under a “state of imminent water crisis” undoubtedly showed that the MIWD engagement with private bulk water suppliers and changes of Board of Directors did not solve the crisis of water shortage.

“It’s a complete government failure!” said BAYAN Panay chairperson Hope Hervilla.

Hervilla further said, “Multimillion of people’s money through government funds only go to the two private big businesses paid by MIWD. What if the said amount goes to the development of MIWD pipelines and water sourcing? By then, absolutely water shortage can be solved may it be caused by drought or small pipelines.”

In August 2014, Development Bank of the Philippines approved MIWD’s loan worth Php150 million.

BAYAN Panay strongly asserts that water shortage can be genuinely solved if government must take full control of MIWD, choosing proven competent officers coming from the people’s representatives with real motives of service rather than business and with sufficient funds that must be used to explore and develop more sources for water supply and efficient technologies for security and sustainability rather buying from private water suppliers. Only then, everyone can enjoy water accessibility, affordability and security./ptlogo

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