Baciwa employees reject joint venture

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BY MARCHEL P. ESPINA

The Baciwa employees in an indignation rally Friday following the signing of the joint venture agreement between the utility firm and PrimeWater.*

The Baciwa Employees Union has expressed strong opposition to the signing of the joint venture agreement between the board of the Bacolod City Water District and PrimeWater Infrastructure Corp. of the Villar Group.

Leny Espina, president of BEU, said they are outraged that their officials have betrayed not only Baciwa and its employees but the people of Bacolod.

“The Baciwa Board and senior officials may deny it with all their might but they have effectively surrendered the management and operation to a private corporation,” she said.

She said they continue to maintain that water is a God-given gift that should be enjoyed by the people, and not a commodity to profit from.

“This is why water districts were designated to be government-owned and controlled corporations,” she added.

She also said, “Given PrimeWater’s dismal performance in other places whose water districts they took over, they have essentially condemned Bacolodnons to suffer a utility we cannot hold accountable for poor service and arbitrary rate increase.”

She said they will not accept this sitting down. “We must continue to fight for our right to clean and affordable water,” she added.

She also called on the Bacolod residents to join in opposing the joint venture.

On Friday, Baciwa and PrimeWater officials signed the controversial 25-year joint venture agreement that will bring in P6.3 billion in investments from the Villar-owned utility firm in the next 25 years.

The project is expected to start on November 1, following a three-month transition period.*

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