The municipal government of Monkayo in Compostela Valley is in the process of granting a 25-year franchise to a private water company to operate the municipal water system.
“We will be investing a total of P625 million, and for the first year P100 million to build a water treatment plant,” Federico Noe Goco, program manager of the Udenna Water Integrated Services, Inc. told those attending the Sangguniang Bayan’s public hearing Tuesday on the proposed ordinance granting the private company a franchise to engage in the business of water supply and distribution.
The sanggunian reasoned out that there is pressing need to address the insufficiency of water supply services in the municipality.
The town’s waterworks system has since been operated by the local government unit and it has been encountering difficulties of improving it as the town population increases while it does not have the technical expertise and financial resources to rehabilitate and expand the existing water system.
Mayor Ramil Gentugaya, in an interview, acknowledged they need an expertise in improving the water system, from the source in Buay river in uphill Barangay Salvacion down to household connections.
He said that part of the agreement would be for Udenna to assume the P23 million balance of the P45-million loan contracted earlier by the previous municipal administration. The loan from Land Bank was sought to rehabilitate the waterworks system.
The mayor is presently rehabilitating the system’s piping connections from Buay source after these were destroyed by recent typhoons.
He said that Udenna is one among the biggest and expert water companies in the country, adding that the firm has pledged to make their Monkayo project “a benchmark” for their next projects in various sites nationwide.
Goco said that based on Udenna’s financial projections the average tariff they would collect would be about P19.59 per cubic- from the existing average of P13 plus per cubic, with minimum charge of P166.50 for residential users and P331 for commercial users, both consuming water of not more than 10 cubic.
“We want to be always transparent, there’s an increase because we will invest, we will put up a filtration plant, we will increase the service coverage, we will upgrade the pipelines and do many others,” he said.
In exchange for the franchise, the grantee will pay a franchise fee of two percent (2%) based on gross sales after the value added tax and after a grace period of three years from the start date of the operations.
Under the proposed ordinance, the take-over of the existing water system shall be commenced within a period of five months from the date of approval or upon the agreement between the municipal government and the grantee.
Goco estimated that if the approval is made this quarter, Udenna could operate with already the treatment plant “by May next year.”
Udenna stockholders include the known successful Davao businessman Dennis Uy. Its president is Melden Al Uy.
Also attending the public hearing were barangay officials, sectoral leaders, sanggunian members and municipal officials and employees. (mindanaosunchronicle.com/Cha Monforte)