The missing conversation

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

EENY, meeny, miny, moe, who will solve (Bacolod City Water District) Baciwa’s problems? Will it be suspended general manager Juliana Carbon or the newly-appointed officer-in-charge Darwin Destacamento?

Or perhaps Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) engineers Ed de Mayo and Eric Gita who have met with Carbon and the officers of the Baciwa Employees Union.

On the other hand, Mayor Monico Puentevella wants Board of Directors member Marichi Ramos out, an appointee of former mayor and now congressman Evelio Leonardia. With her out, the votes against Carbon will diminish.


And the Baciwa employees union? Understandably, they want to protect their benefits and wages. No problem with that.

The only thing is that Baciwa is a public utility. They exist to serve their consumers. Over the weekend, I didn’t see that service. Alijis was deprived of water for almost the whole day. And there was nothing on Carbon’s balde solution of stocking up on water because of water interruptions.

Perhaps, they expect the paying consumers to look the other way and bite the bullet when any of these characters deprive us of water.

Who among them are talking about Baciwa’s lousy services? Well, in fact, the three BoD members pointed at Carbon as the source of these problems. The buck stops with her since it’s her job as general manager to make sure that Baciwa is performing its mandate.

In August 2, 2014, Baciwa’s website assured its consumers that “We are assuring the consuming public that the water service remains normal and uninterrupted except for those resulting from well breakdowns and electric power interruption. The recent issues concerning the Board of Directors and management do not hamper the operations.”

Oh yeah? I got news for them. Last weekend, Alijisnons had no water for almost the whole day.

How are Mayor Puentevella, Carbon and Destacamento, or De Mayo and Gita going to solve these problems?
- abnormally high non-revenue water;
- alleged willful misrepresentation of the Murcia Water District bulk water supply contract with Baciwa, the appointment of officers-in-charge, and giving representation and transportation allowance (Rata) without a Board approval;
- the alleged fraudulent certificate of completion and final acceptance without Board authority, and without the project having been completed as part of the P537 million loan in Phase II, non-disclosure of the 7.5-kilometer pipeline from Granada to Burgos-López Jaena which was not interconnected to the Baciwa system since 2008;
- alleged non-disclosure of the P241-million retained earnings of Baciwa, non-reporting of the 750 KVA generator as part of the Baciwa assets, non-disclosure of the Mansilingan reservoir and the six booster pumps which allegedly have not been utilized as part of the P537-million loan;
- continuous disbursement of employees allowance that were previously disallowed by the Commission on Audit?

On the last concern, I have yet to hear from Claudio Salmo, BEU president, deny or confirm this.

Salmo recently bragged that Baciwa has already reduced the NRW to 32 percent from 47 percent despite no funding support from the board. Perhaps he should live in Alijis for a month and tell us how the utility is fixing the non-delivery of water.

Otherwise, Salmo, together with Puentevella, Carbon are muddling the conversation on providing better services to Baciwa’s paying consumers.



Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 13, 2014.


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