• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Aboitiz InfraCapital (AIC) has expressed interest in investing P2.8 billion in the Bulk Water Supply project of the provincial government of Negros Occidental, through a public private partnership (PPP).
Accompanied by Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, AIC executives, headed by president and Chief Executive Officer Cossette Canilao, yesterday met with Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, to discuss proposals to invest in the bulk water supply project that will benefit the cities of Talisay and highly urbanized Bacolod City.
“We are looking at a joint- venture agreement with the provincial government and the Bacolod City government,” Canilao.
The bulk water project is a priority project of the administration of Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, which is targeted for implementation this year, through a PPP.
The project aims to address the rising water demand and is one of the priorities under the seven-point development agenda of the Lacson administration. By developing surface water as a sustainable source of potable and resilient water supply, the province would be able to reduce reliance on deep wells.
Canilao said that the water being tapped from deep wells, at present, have already been saturated, and started drying up, which may cause degradation of the surface.
“If we get a sustainable source of water from rivers, that’s the ideal one,” she also said.
Under the Bulk Water Supply Project, Canilao said they will use the surface water, construct the piping towards treatment facilities and for distribution to consumers, through water districts.
Provincial Administrator Atty. Rayfrando Diaz earlier disclosed that the bulk water project will tap surface water from the Embang River in Silay City and the Malogo River at the Victorias City – EB Magalona border.
Diaz said that Embang River alone can supply 40 million liters per day (mld) while the Malogo River can supply a higher volume.
Canilao said they will follow the PPP codes of the city and provincial governments in terms of the approval and awarding of the project.
Aside from Aboitiz InfraCapital, Lacson there are other potential investors that signified interest in the project.
Under the PPP scheme, Lacson said the provincial government will have a very minimal expense for the project, such as water permits and right of way, while the investor takes charge of others.
Benitez also assured the project of his support. “If it will bring better service and cheaper rates for the people, definitely Bacolod City will be part of it,” he stressed.
If it pushes through this year, Canilao said the construction of the project will take two years.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is extending technical assistance for the development of a bulk water supply project in Negros Occidental through PPP.*