Proposal for joint venture agreement with Baciwa challenged

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BACOLOD CITY – A Manila-based water concessionaire challenged the proposal of Prime Water Corporation for a 25-year joint venture agreement with Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa).

Bacolod city councilors Carl Lopez (left) and Wilson Gamboa during the committee hearing at Bacolod city SP session hall.
Bacolod city councilors Carl Lopez (left) and Wilson Gamboa during the committee hearing at Bacolod city SP session hall.

In a public bidding, Manila Water on Monday submitted requirements to challenge the joint venture proposal of Prime Water.

If Manila Water will qualify, it will be given four months to study and draft a proposal.

Councilor Carl Lopez, chairperson on Committee on Environment and Natural Resources said he is confident that Manila Water will pass the eligibility requirements set by the Bids and Awards Committee.

Lawyer Lorendo Dilag, chairman of Baciwa board said the agreement between Baciwa and Prime Water is only tentative.

He added that the competitive challenge will allow fair competition among interested private companies.

Baciwa entered a joint venture agreement with Prime Water, a private company to manage and operate the water district for 25 years.

Dilag clarified that the water district will not be privatized, but only the operations will be taken over by the private company.

“There is no privatization; only joint venture,” said Dilag.

Baciwa Employees Union, however, expressed disfavor on the partnership of the district to a private company saying that this will lead to privatization which will adversely affect the employees and the consumers.

Baciwa Employees Union President Leny Espina said the joint venture agreement is not the immediate solution to the problem, rather, the district should opt for a public-public partnership.

Lopez assured that the city council will make sure that either of the two proposals will protect the employees and the consumers of Baciwa.

“We will see to it that the interests of the employees and the consumers will be taken into consideration,” said Lopez.

The result of the public bidding will be released on November 6.

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