CALAPAN CITY—The Calapan City government is halting the full implementation of the P400-million water improvement project by the lone water service provider here as it expressed strong opposition to the renewal of the water firm’s expired Certificate of Public Convenience.
Business groups allied with some city officials have also expressed interest in putting up their own company in lieu of the Calapan Waterworks Corp. or Calapan Water, which has been operating in this city for 21 years since 1997.
The water company, the lone water service provider in this city, has applied before the National Water Regulatory Board the renewal of its CPC, which expired this year.
The Sangguniang Panglungsod, however, also filed before the NWRB its opposition, citing among other reasons “mismanagement of its operations.”
The CWC capital infusion of P400 million was meant to construct and laying of 26.4 kilometers of additional transmission and distribution pipelines to “deliver more water to our existing service areas as well as expand to new areas in Calapan to reach more customers,” said Roderick A. Ongcarranceja, CWC president.
The investment will also ensure the additional 15 million liters of fresh and potable water per day for its growing customers within the city proper and outlying areas in almost 32 out of 62 barangays of Calapan City, he added.
Eric Montelibano, CWC vice-president for corporate affairs, said Calapan City is “one of the fastest growing cities in the region that continues to provide accelerated growth in the various segments of business, agriculture and tourism.”
“The P400-million investment initiative, which has been ongoing since early 2017, will result in system improvement that will benefit up to 25,000 households and businesses,” he said.
The ongoing water improvement project is designed to provide adequate water supply to address the progressive development in Calapan City for the next five years and beyond, Montelibano added.
Since this development plan began in 2017, CWC has laid additional 6.1 kilometers of transmission pipelines, the commissioning of a new water source, and installation of booster pumps that have substantially improved the water supply in the first quarter of 2018.
Jolly L. Ting, chairman and chief executive officer of Philippine H20 Ventures Corp., which operates water utilities, such as the CWC, also disclosed that another P400 million to P600 million water improvement and expansion project in Calapan City is in the pipeline.
“This proposed expansion of finding a new source of potable water is meant to provide adequate water supply to address the progressive development in Calapan for the next five to ten years and beyond,” he said.
The new water project, which is currently under feasibility study, will tap surface water from adjoining rivers in the outlying areas of the city.
“It’s expensive because it requires several kilometers-long transmission pipelines to convey fresh water to consumers based in the city proper, not to mention the costs of building filtration and chlorination plants,” explained Ting.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue in 2017 awarded the Calapan Waterworks Corp. as the “top taxpayer” of Revenue District Office No. 63 based in Calapan City.
In receiving the award, Ongcarranceja said: “When we took over the operation of the water system in Calapan, we started a very important mission to rehabilitate the water system which took us years of hard work, dedication and determination.”
“The payment of correct taxes only shows our commitment to build better communities not only in Calapan, but also in Tabuk, Kalinga and Agoo, in La Union. Today, these areas enjoy clean water and tremendous improvement in economic activities contributing to these areas,” the CWC official said.
Calapan City Mayor Arnan C. Panaligan approached Ting in 1996 to take over from a local businessman the ownership the water supply operation because of mismanagement and poor-quality water it was providing to consumers. The CWC started its management and operation the following year in 1997.