BACOLOD City – Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr. demanded transparency from the Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa) amid the controversy hounding the water district’s proposed joint venture agreement with private firm PrimeWater Infrastructure Corp.
“Public transparency and accountability must be observed. Prior consultation must be conducted before it could negotiate,” he stressed.
Gamboa made the call in a privilege speech during the city council’s session on Thursday.
The councilor said he received reports of Baciwa board of directors finalizing the “terms of reference” for a contract with PrimeWater by end of June.
Gamboa reiterated before the board can even discuss the merits of the agreement in the public-private partnership, “the stakeholders and the people of Bacolod must first be apprised of the true status of Baciwa, both financially and technically.”
He pointed out that “this is the second attempt of the board led by its chairman Lorendo Dilag to sell out Baciwa to a private water concessionaire.”
“In 2013, they pushed for the acceptance of the P7.88-billion Miya-Maynilad contract in 15 years to address water losses or non-revenue water, which was highly disadvantageous, technically and financially not feasible,” he said.
With the proposed deal with PrimeWater, the Baciwa Employees Union is also holding a protest expressing their opposition.
“To the local government unit, it is imperative for us now to review and scrutinize the management of Baciwa in terms of revenue operation, personnel management and the most important one, on how the funds of Baciwa is being handled and managed,” Gamboa said.
He added the city government should also study other alternative solutions, such as creating linkages between neighboring cities and municipality by tapping their water resources. (With a report from PNA/PN)