Atty. Enrique Tabino recently proposed a public-private partnership (PPP) for the Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa), calling it the “best option.” During a recent media interview, he said the utility firm is unable to provide water 24 hours a day, seven days a week and, given the influx of investors, Bacolod City needs a reliable water supply connection. With a number of pending water connections Baciwa has yet to act upon, it may lead to a water crisis.
He said, as a consumer himself, despite massive loans borrowed by Baciwa, they still have been unable to solve the problems with water as consumers are continually complaining about turbid water or no water at all.
Tabino called PPP the best option because the firm itself is unable to finance the needed improvements alone.
He made note of the opposition and said he respected their view but said they must understand the National Water Regulations Board is the governing agent and, under a PPP, they must approve motions proposed by Baciwa.
The lawyer went on to explain a PPP is not privatization since the government still has a hand in the matter, particularly money, assets, among other items.
In addition, investment is done for the purpose of accomplishing a specific goal with the end view of facilitating the private sector.
Privatization, meanwhile, involves the sale and transfer of assets. Under a PPP, new facilities and acquisitions would still be turned over to Baciwa. They will remain in the forefront of delivering water by setting policies and service obligations./WDJ