Could result to increase of water rates?

TACLOBAN CITY- The Leyte Metropolitan Water District (LMWD) may just become a private entity, a move strongly opposed by its employees saying it could result to increase of water rates, among others.
Next month, a bidding for the privatization of the LMWD will be held in Manila with three big private companies said to have signified their interest to join the bidding on the hope to take over one of the biggest water companies in the region.
This plan, however, is being opposed by the members of the Leyte Metropolitan Water District Employees Association (LMWDEA).
But Tess Pascua, information officer of the LMWD, said that what the management will be undertaking is not privatization per se but PPP or public-private partnership which she said is being encouraged by the government.
In a position paper, obtained by Leyte Samar Daily Express, the group claims that the privatization of the LMWD will result in a higher water rate and will not automatically translate to a better service.
At present, consumers of the LMWD pay P148.50 per 10 cubic meters, the minimum of consumption.
The LMWDEA, headed by Rolando Mercado, also said that the privatization will also result to massive lay off among the agency’s more than 400 employees.
“Privatization limits public accountability. Private corporations are responsible only to their stockholders and not to the people they serve,” the group said on their position paper.
A privatized LMWD will also result in lack of transparency, thus the people it supposed to serve could not immediately demand to know the policies that the agency will impose to their detriment, the group said.
The group also demanded from the current management of LMWD, headed by Engr.Pastor Homeres, to provide them the financial status of LMWD as they are claiming that the agency is on the brink of bankruptcy reason why they are selling it to a private company.
The LMWD has incurred a loan of P1.2 billion from the Land Bank in 2013.
The LMWDEA also claimed that the LMWD management is not collecting fees to several establishments owned by the provincial government, to include a private hotel, that runs into millions of pesos.
The general manager and members of the board of directors of LMWD are all appointed by the provincial government.
Pascua, in a mobile phone interview, said that she could not yet make any comment on the allegations of the LMWDEA saying these still remains ‘premature.’
“But on allegations that we are not collecting fees from some of the provincial offices, it’s not true. We are collecting them like what we do with other government offices but admittedly, they are paying not on time,” she said.
Based on the records of LMWD, as of 2016, it is serving 33,671 concessionaires coming from the towns of Palo, Tanauan, Sta. Fe, Tolosa, Dagami, Tabon-Tabon and Pastrana and the city of Tacloban.
At present, LMWD is considered a government-owned and controlled corporation and placed under the Civil Service Commission and the Commission on Audit.