House probes Villar’s firms water control

The Makabayan Bloc in the House of Representatives has sought a congressional investigation into the alleged anomalous takeover of the Villar owned-Prime Water Corp. on several local water districts in the country.

In a statement, Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite said the group had “convincing evidences (sic) and formidable witnesses ready to testify” at the chamber once the investigation begins.

Gaite said the resource persons and witnesses to be presented are employees who were dismissed from their jobs, complaining consumers about the poor services of Prime Water, and officials of water district who would attest on the railroading and irregularity entered in the Joint Venture Agreement of Prime Water with the Local Water Utilities Administration, which paved the way for its takeover of the Local Water Districts.

“Once the investigation begins, we will find out and disclose to the public the [alleged]    sweetheart deals of Prime Water,” said Gaite, the Bloc’s member.

At the same time, the Makabayan bloc is urging the House leadership to act on its pending resolution before the House Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization asking to conduct a House inquiry against Prime Water owned by billionaire couple Senator Cynthia and Manny Villar.

The Makabayan Bloc earlier filed House Resolution 10 calling for a congressional probe “to examine the JVA entered by Prime Water since there are supposed to be an opposition on the 25-year agreement, and yet the public-private partnerships with LWD were carried on.”

One example cited by Makabayan bloc was Prime Water’s JVA in San Jose del Monte City Water District which was opposed by consumer group Alliance for Consumers Protection and residents. 

This is because water charges will go up to as much as P500 once Prime Water takes over as compared to the previous monthly rate of P280, aside from the complaint of poor quality of water and the deficiency in supply.

Aside from Gaite, the group also composed of Representatives Carlos Isagani Zarate and Eufemia Caramat of Bayan Muna, France Castro of ACT Teachers, and Arlene Brosas of Gabriela.

The lawmakers also alleged the lack of consultation on the Prime Water takeover of the Bacolod City Water District which resulted in the loss of work for about 300 employees.

Water rates of Prime Water are also the highest in selected cities in the country, the group said citing data from the Local Water Utilities Administration revealed.

LWUA data showed that water in San Jose del Monte costs P28 per cu m; Bacolod, P20.80 per cu m); Batangas City, P20.50 per cu m; and Cabanatuan City, P19.20 per cu m, as compared to P10.4 per cubic meter in the capital region, which is the lowest among 11 other metro areas and cities across the country.   

Topics: House of Representatives , Prime Water Corp. , Ferdinand Gaite
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