The Tacloban-Maynilad joint venture
At last, Tacloban City will have sufficient water, thanks to the man who did not stop pursuing his dream for Taclobanons to have its own water facility!
It could be recalled that one of the constant compliant aired by Tacloban residents and those who come here as transients was the lack of water. The problem started as early as the late 80’s and worsened when Tacloban gained its status as a highly urbanized city. The problem became an issue when it became a rallying cry of oppositionists saying “an HUC with no water” as if the lack of water in Tacloban was the result of the new status. The heckling became worst and instead of doing something to improve its services, the existing water facility made statements on the air and even on print that is tantamount to saying nothing could be done about it and instead blame HUC for the problem.
The mayor is a man of few words; he would rather work and move silently than engage in unnecessary squabble. If the LMWD could not rightly serve Tacloban consumers, then there must be other options to take. Hence, he tasked the city administrator to look for solutions. And it came a few months after, where studies and paper works started moving. Maynilad promised to bring water to Tacloban faucets by next fiesta in June 2012.
Taclobanons are happy about this gain but there are others who are not. A municipal mayor has recently manifested his ignorance when he ranted that granting Tacloban its own water facility will deprive his town from agricultural water. He forgot that the National Irrigation Administration which controls water for agricultural purposes has given its go-signal. And when it did, it made sure that the sources have enough water for domestic and agriculture use. He must have also forgotten to do some research on the matter. The LMWD itself, which could not deliver the desired service for Tacloban attempted to protest claiming it has an expansion program for the city.
A fellow writer attempted to deny such and muddled the issue saying LMWD did not protest the application of Tacloban at the National Water Resources Board. Well, it is difficult to refute such claim when we have the evidence on file. But talking about the matter is useless; suffice it to say that LMWD’s protest did not materialize because it did not pay the 3k it was supposed to pay for filing the complaint.
This is a lesson to be learned by agencies that are mandated to serve the public. When Maynilad starts opening the dry taps of households in the city, it simply means that the promise of the mayor has been delivered. Like the usual government program, it cannot be done in a fleck of the finger; it takes months to undergo research, feasibility studies and other surveys. It will also mean that LMWD will have fewer revenues; in a survey conducted 90 % of water consumers in the city will opt for the new water facility. They will not only be assured of a better service, they are assured that the transmission lines are new.
People are aware that the “promise” of LMWD to expand in the city and improve its services is a farfetched reality. It cannot serve more than 7,000 households in Tacloban for the simple reason that when it does, LMWD will no longer be managed by the provincial government of Leyte, something that made them insist on the one meter policy. Many times in the past, LMWD was challenged to improve its water distribution capacity in Tacloban. Much as its manager would want to do, he will be blocked by the ‘powers that be’ that control LMWD’s management. The one meter-one subdivision policy has been put in place for the selfish reason of controlling the water district, never mind if it has caused the misery of its number one consumers.
We have reminded the water facility that out of the eight (8) areas of coverage, Tacloban accounts for 80 percent of the total water consumption. Aside from this, the city also has the majority number of consumers so that they insisted on the one meter-one subdivision policy because if all the water meters in the city will be accounted, it will not only be 75 % of the total consumers in the 8 areas of coverage but would even exceed. When that happens, the city government will have the controlling power of the water facility.
People can no longer wait for the actual presence of Maynilad in the city. It is nice to know that such competition will bring better services. Since Maynilad has assured that it will not touch areas which are already served by LMWD, it would start in areas which have no water connections at the moment unless that area would opt to transfer to the new water facility. A good thing with Maynilad services is that it will include water treatment of used water or sewerage before it gets to waterways. The water treatment program of Maynilad is part of their social responsibility and concern for the preservation of the environment and natural resource.
By: Deeday A. Cairo
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