BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Terminated employees of Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa) were barred from entering the district’s premises on Monday 4 January.
On 29 December, Baciwa terminated 60 of its employees for “redundancy” after the district entered into a joint venture agreement (JVA) with PrimeWater Infrastructure Corp.
The employees who received their termination letter on 28 December were prohibited from occupying and loitering in the premises of Baciwa offices except when they process their clearances in relation to their separation from the service.
In a statement, Baciwa Employees Union said “the ‘redundancy’ has no basis in fact and in law and relies on the opinion of an agency which, because it was party to what, for all intents, was the surrender of public service to private interests, can hardly be relied on to undertake a sober and unbiased assessment of the situation”.
The union said those declared redundant were the ones who declined the two options offered to them by Baciwa.
The first was to apply for employment for PrimeWater as a private entity and the other was to accept the early retirement incentive plan.
For the union, the early retirement option was “utterly inappropriate, perhaps even illegal but certainly immoral” and seen as “little more than a bribe to entice government workers to end their public service.”
The union also said the Baciwa board, which issued the termination orders, does not possess the authority to dictate the terms of employment as they are subject to and protected by the Civil Service Commission.
“Water is a God-given natural resource that should be utilized and preserved for the people, not a commodity to be profited from by vested interests.
This is the reason why we, as government employees, will always oppose this onerous deal that betrays the welfare of the public that we have sworn an oath to serve,” it said.
PrimeWater, a private corporation, took over the operations of Baciwa on 16 November 2020.