‘WHERE’S OUR WATER?’ Consumers cry foul as MIWD, Flo Water fight over P1.5M

ILOILO City – Conflict between Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) and private bulk water supplier Flo Water Resources, Inc. over a P1.5-million fine has left consumers in the municipality of Leganes, Iloilo and portions of Jaro and La Paz districts here either without water or with very low water pressure.

Flo Water stopped delivering water to MIWD since June 4, according to the water district’s officer-in-charge Amarylis Josephine Castro.

Flo Water’s move stemmed from MIWD’s slapping it with a fine of P1,589,452.34 for delivering “discolored water” from April 7 to 15, said Castro.

The fine was subtracted from MIWD’s payment to Flo Water for that month’s water delivery.

Flo Water protested and on June 3 wrote MIWD demanding for the return of the P1.5 million.

Under their bulk water supply contract, Flo Water supplies MIWD with 15,000 cubic meters of water daily.

In its demand letter, Flo Water accused MIWD of delaying “the satisfaction of our claim through a mechanism not sanctioned under our contract.”

It pointed to MIWD’s referring the matter “to your legal counsel” instead of threshing it out through their respective technical personnel and/or engineers as provided for in their Bulk Water Supply Contract (BWSC).

Flo Water gave MIWD until June 4 to pay otherwise it would “resort to all actions necessary to protect and/or vindicate our rights.”

MIWD legal counsel Roy Villa likened Flo Water’s decision to stop delivering water to a “de facto cancellation” of the BWSC.

He insisted that water quality was included in the water supply contract and that the water which Flo Water delivered from April 7 to 15 failed in the physicochemical analysis.

While Flo Water argued that the water discoloration was beyond its control (force majeure), Villa cited MIWD’s own investigation tracing it to molasses dumped by a company into a river in Passi City.

“There are several legal remedies we can avail ourselves under the contract. We will weigh which is the best,” said Villa.

He also said Flo Water risks being slapped with another penalty, this time for failing to deliver the contracted volume of water.

“Under the contract, kon indi ma-deliver ang 15,000 cubic meters of water a day, there is a corresponding penalty because that is under-delivery already,” said Villa.

Castro assured affected MIWD consumers that the water district was doing everything it could to manage the situation. A new schedule of water supply would be announced today, she said.

MIWD is counting on Metro Iloilo Bulk Water (MIB), its joint venture company with Metro Pacific Water, to address the concern.

Castro said MIB would be increasing its water production to cover the around 11,000 cubic meters of undelivered water by Flo Water.

Villa, on the other hand, hinted MIWD won’t easily cave in to Flo Water’s demand.

“Ang pagbalik sang connection from Flo Water, only Flo Water can answer that. As far as MIWD is concerned, it is making adjustments of its valves to ensure that water will be delivered to the affected areas,” he told Panay News yesterday./PN


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