Davao City Councilors advocate for a new water service provider in the city
DAVAO City Councilors advocated for the establishment of a new water utility service provider in the city in order to improve water service. This follows a weekend of poor water service for Davao City Water District (DCWD) customers.
Davao City Councilors advocate for a new water service provider in the city

Councilors Bernie Al-ag, and Conrado Baluran made the proposal during the regulation session on Tuesday morning, September 20.

Al-ag said that the city needs to allow the operation of another franchisee so that Dabawenyos will have an alternative water provider.

"Maybe it's time to open the franchise to other water providers in the city. If we only have one choice, kung may palpak, unsa man atong mahimo, muadto lang ta'g opisina na wa'y ligo. (if it fails to operate, we can’t do anything about it, but go to our offices without taking a bath) We'll just have to accept that," he said.

The councilor said the City Council has the authority to give franchises to other firms in providing water service.

Baluran, meanwhile, motioned that Al-ag's remark and concern will be enacted for first reading and will be raised through a committee hearing.

Councilor Diosdado Mahipus, Jr. also agreed that the city should consider approving another water supplier.

“It is still the same, the city has been experiencing water interruptions for quite some time already, in fact, I think it’s already decades ago that my father [former Councilor Diosdado Mahipus, Sr.] raised this issue before the City Council in the need for DCWD to improve their systems," Mahipus said.

The city had previously approved a franchise to Helpmate Incorporated, but their operation is only limited, for now, in Buhangin District.

Mahipus said Helpmate intends to expand its operation "not to compete with DCWD, but to complement" its services by providing in areas that the water utility cannot service.

Hyde Reyes Laspiñas, DCWD Head of production, during the suspended rules, said once the Davao City Bulk Water Supply Project (DCBWSP) is completed, its consumers can expect better water service.

"If the Bulk Water would really be operational, we can say that 24/7 all Dabawenyos will be given safe water," Laspiñas said.

She added, "If the 300 million liters per day, which will be given by Apo Agua [Infrastructura], that can suffice to the need of the city."

The P12-billion DCBWSP will tap the Tamugan River as a major water source for the system and is estimated to supply 300 to 345 million liters of water per day. It is a joint project of DCWD and the Apo Agua Infrastructura.

Laspiñas, however, said they are open to having a competing water utility in the city.

In her report, the DCWD official said 76 percent of its booster pumps are fully operational, and they are expecting the water supply serviced by Dumoy Water Supply System (WSS) Line 2 will recover soon.

Consumers of DCWD, since Friday, September 16, had experienced poor water service.

DCWD issued an emergency water service interruption for the whole Line 2 due to electrical wiring being damaged and a main electrical wire needing to be replaced.

Meanwhile, the City Council passed a resolution inviting Apo Agua to attend the next regular session.

Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte, in a radio interview on Wednesday, September 21, said the firm is expected to give updates on the Bulk Water project this week.

Apo Agua, in a press statement, said they are ramping up construction works for the DCBWSP, and are targeting to complete the project before the end of 2022 despite a tight timetable.

This is after "they are taking the lead role" in the construction of DCBWSP.

The company said they are fast-tracking the construction due to setbacks and "complications" brought about by the restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and other contributing “internal factors.”

Prior to taking over the project, Apo Agua said J.V. Angeles Construction Corporation was the lead contractor in the project's engineering, procurement, and construction.

Previously, Apo Agua targeted to start operations of the bulk water project before the end of 2021. However, the project has yet to be completed. 

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