THE Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) conferred to the Pangilinan-led MetroPacific Water Investments Corp. (MWIC) the “original proponent status” relative to the latter’s proposed P12-billion distribution project which will be implemented through a joint venture with the water district.
The conferment was formalized with the signing of an agreement between MIWD and MWIC on May 18, 2017.
Amarylis Josephine Castro, MIWD spokesperson for JV projects and chair of the MIWD JV technical working group for negotiation, said the signing does not mean that MWIC already bagged the contract for the multibillion-peso project.
“This still does not mean that they will be the one who will undertake the project,” Castro told The Daily Guardian.
Castro said MWIC’s proposal will be subjected to competitive challenge by other firms which are interested in improving MIWD’s distribution services.
“The signing means that both parties have agreed on the terms and conditions that will be stated in the joint venture agreement and concession agreement. At the same time, the terms and conditions that will be specified in the terms of reference for the bidding,” she said.
Castro said several big names in the water industry, which she refused to reveal in the meantime, have signified their interest in the project.
“Without a challenger then we can go directly to the awarding of the project to the original proponent which is MetroPac. But we expect that there will be a lot of challenger because there are companies that expressed intentions to challenge the proposal,” she said.
Castro said the MWIC proposal covers the distribution aspect such as pipe-laying, reduction of non-revenue water (supply lost to leaks and pilferage), septage management program, implementation of an automated billing system and the expansion project which will be implemented in 25 to 50 years.
MWIC is controlled by business magnate Manny V. Pangilinan which also supplies 170 million liters of water daily (MLD) to MIWD through a bulk water supply project.
The proposal will also include water source development aside from the existing 170MLD contract to cater to rising demand for water.
Castro said that during the contract period, both parties aim to improve MIWD’s service area coverage from 25 percent to 90 percent.
MIWD serves more or less 38,000 households in Iloilo City and seven neighboring towns in Iloilo province – Maasin, Leganes, Cabatuan, Sta. Barbara, San Miguel, Oton, and Pavia.
In the next five years, the project targets to reduce the NRW or water loss from 46 percent to 30 percent.
Meanwhile, Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. said he is hopeful that the project will solve the problem of the water district in terms of delivering water to its consumers.