DUMAGUETE CITY – Two proponents from the Ayala group of companies expressed their dismay over the way their bid for a joint venture with the Dumaguete City Water District (DCWD) failed. Manila Water group claimed the DCWD seemed to suddenly forget their early offer which they made as early as June last year.
This was aired by Ryan Wesly Yapkianwee, President of Tubig Pilipinas Group Inc, before the City Council Wednesday and on CROSS TALK over DYEM BAI RADIO. This developed as the word war continues between the DCWD and the City Council regarding moves to privatize operations and management of the 40-year-old water district.
Ryan Yapkianwee, representing Tubig Pilipinas Group Inc. and Jalil Madueno, program manager of Manila Water Company Inc. appeared before the regular session of the City Council to shed light on their proposal to supply water in bulk. According to Yapkianwee, the company had been in Dumaguete since 2014 to explore the possibility of a water bulk contract but it did not materialize. The original proposal from them was to get water from Banica River but DCWD had a contract with another company back then.
According to them, despite the initial rejection, Tubig Pilipinas and Manila Water group remained interested in Dumaguete so they continued to pursue DCWD. He disclosed having talks with the DCWD general manager early last year and was told by the GM that the water district is open to their proposal. They (Tubig Pilipinas and Manila Water group) came back on July 3, 2017 and were promised that their proposal will be taken up during their board meeting on July 10, 2017 but it did not happen. They were then promised the same on the third week of August 2017 but still without results. They later found out that the water district had already accepted the proposal of Metropac in a board resolution dated July 6, 2017. This was done in a meeting held at the residence of one of the BOD members with a certification issued the following day by the BOD chairman no less. “We were shocked because we thought we are supposed to be the first proponent,” said Yapkianwee and Madueno. They also said that they are not privy to Metropac’s proposal.
Councilors Arbon, Arbas, and Cordova recalled what happened in 2013 when they were maliciously referred to as individuals who will cause the privatization of the water district and to raise water rates if they are elected into office. The concerned city officials said the truth has come out with DCWD repeatedly declaring over the radio it is autonomous by virtue of PD 198 so the local government unit cannot interfere in its affairs. This was contrary to what was peddled back in 2013 that they (the three councilors) were planning to increase water rates and push for the privatization of the company using meter readers through a house-to-house campaign.
Arbas challenged any one of those who lied to the public to speak out and defend themselves. He said liars don’t deserve any position in government.
Arbon, meanwhile, is not questioning the alleged fiscal autonomy of the water district but just wanted to know the truth. He said DCWD may have forgotten that LGU Dumaguete is one of the biggest consumers of water and by virtue of that, it has the right to ask what is going on inside.
Speaking directly to the board of management of the water district, Councilor Cordova said they have nothing to be ashamed of if they’re not hiding anything.
For his part, Councilor Agustin Perdices pleaded to those who are the custodians of the facts to make them available to the City Council to erase doubts about the real status of the water district. As a consumer and as a public official, Perdices said it was worrisome for him to hear the explanation of Vice Chairman Cleonico Fontelo that the first option which is to borrow from banks is difficult because the water district only has P288 million assets while the required amount for the improvement and upgrading of the system is P1 billion more or less. Perdices said as far as he knows, banks look at the profitability of the business, cash flow, and earning potential. DCWD, then, is a shoo-in for a client since there is no other entity operating the same services that it offers.
Councilor Estanislao Alviola also expressed surprise that DCWD has only that much asset after 40 years of being an established business.