Entry of Prime Water in Iloilo City opposed

Panay Consumers’ Alliance (PCA) opposed the entry of a new water player in Iloilo City.

Bulk water supplier Prime Water Infrastructure of Senator Cynthia Villar applied for a 25-year franchise to “construct, establish, commission, operate, and maintain a water supply system [in the metropolis].”

PCA, in its position paper, said the entry of Prime Water would not address the “water crisis” being experienced throughout the city.

“It is not true,” according to the group, “that private corporations are capable of providing public service, and is not corrupt and efficient.”

“Private institutions are profit-oriented and will always go for profit-generating schemes instead of offering service for the people,” PCA said.

On Nov. 14, the City Council conducted a hearing on Prime Water’s franchise application.

The firm’s franchise covers 67 barangays under Phase 1 for three years, and the remaining 113 barangays under Phase 2 for 4-25 years.

Based on its application, Prime Water will pay P1 to the city government for every cubic meter of water sold and paid for.

Its rates are pegged at P350 per 10 cubic meter (m3) of water for domestic/government use while P700/10 m3 for commercial and industrial use.

These rates, which are higher compared to the Metro Iloilo Water District’s (MIWD) P200/10 m3 (residential) and P400/10 m3 (commercial), “could go on further as they continue to operate as experienced in Maynilad and Manila Water,” PCA said.

“We have experienced enough from private corporations of their failure and we don’t want to repeat it by allowing another major giant to operate and control water, a basic human right.”

PCA wanted the government to take full control of the distribution of water in the highly urbanized city.

“We call on the government to provide enough funds to improve MIWD service in operation and control of the water facility,” it said.

In a previous report by IMT News, Lawyer Roy Villa, MIWD corporate legal counsel, said they would take legal action should the city government grant a franchise to Prime Water.

He insisted that only the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) can issue a water permit.IMT