Business

Metro Pacific water project in Dumaguete gets green light

DUMAGUETE CITY – The city government of Dumaguete and the Dumaguete City Water District (DCWD) have reached a compromise agreement that would pave the way for the utility’s joint venture Metro Pacific Water Investment Corp. (MWIC).

DUMAGUETE CITY – The city government of Dumaguete and the Dumaguete City Water District (DCWD) have reached a compromise agreement that would pave the way for the utility’s joint venture Metro Pacific Water Investment Corp. (MWIC).

DCWD’s JV with Metro Pacific-Salim was blocked through an injunction by the city because of its inclusion of management of the wastewater treatment facility in Barangay Camanjac, which is 50 percent owned by the city government. Metro Pacific-Salim bagged the P1.62 billion project last year.

Under the compromise agreement, DCWD has excluded the septage plant in the JV and the private company would concentrate merely on water distribution.

Dumaguete Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo said on Monday that 50 percent of DCWD’s share in the septage facility would be donated to the city which owned the other half.

As a result of the 100 percent ownership of the septage facility in Camanjac, the public markets will now be spared from paying the septage fee of P2 per cubic meter consumption.

Remollo said vendors at the public market were merely renting the septic tanks. With additional revenues, the city will slash the septage fee from P2 to P1.50 for water consumers throughout the city.

Under the agreement, in case another private company will come in to distribute water, they have to follow the procedure, such as securing a city council approval, similar to the process being undertaken by bilyonaryo Manny Villar’s Prime Water, another “giant” in the water distribution business in the country.

Remollo clarified that the city welcomed competition provided that private businesses would recognize the authority of the local government unit over them, including water concessions.

He said there was no need to withdraw the injunction case, being part of the agreement.

As a government-owned and controlled corporation, the compromise agreement between DCWD and the city was signed by lawyers of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) last week in Dumaguete.

Prime Water is expected to submit to the city government a franchise to engage in the utilization of water from the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), after the city government issued it a permit to operate a water distribution system in Dumaguete.

“This is hitting two birds with one stone for the city,” Remollo said, referring to the two companies fighting in the city;s water distribution business which meant additional revenues for the city.

Under the permits to operate of Prime Water and the joint venture of MWIC and DCWD, the city will receive P1 for every cubic meter of water consumption, so the more water is consumed, the more revenues will flow into the city’s coffer.

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