Carbon denies being behind joint venture

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BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO

Bacolod City Water District general manager Juliana Carbon denied claims that she is the brains behind the joint venture project between BACIWA and PrimeWater Infrastructure Corp. because of her alleged connection to the Villar family.

Carbon yesterday said she is not close to the Villars, who own PrimeWater, and she was not involved in the negotiations, evaluation and decision making for the joint venture.

She is not a signatory to the contract as she is not a member the Joint Venture Selection Committee nor a member of the BACIWA Board of Directors, which is the head of the procuring entity in the transaction, she said.

“The Board had authorized chairman Lorendo Dilag to sign the contract,” Carbon said.

The Board also respects her stand that she is not in favor of the joint venture as a solution to the water problem of BACIWA. She has other alternative solutions like entering into an additional bulk water supply contract to ensure that Bacolod will have water security and sufficient supply of water for the next 25 years, especially that Bacolod is a growth center, she added.

When it comes to financing of their capital expenditures (Capex) and expansion and other improvement, they can resort to borrowing either from the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), or Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) which offered them P3 billion, Carbon said.

If they availed of a loan and manage the funds well and there will be no corruption, no additional 12 percent VAT will be passed on to the consumers like what will happen in the joint venture project, she added.

Carbon said that under a new normal situation, it might take the economy about five years to normalize. She believes that all Bacolod consumers should not be burdened with additional charges or taxes on their water bill which a private company can impose.

“If a water utility will be ran by the government, no additional 12 percent VAT will be imposed on the consumers. BACIWA consumers have to bear these charges,” Carbon said.

If BACIWA secures a loan or enters into a bulk water supply contract, the employment of about 470 regular, casual and job order casual employees of the water district will not be jeopardized, she added

She hopes that the Board will consider other alternative solutions available, Carbon said.

If the result of the joint venture will not be favorable to the consumers, this should not be continued, she said.*

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