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Duterte’s help sought in probe on Baciwa joint venture

A councilor here asked the help of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in investigating the joint venture between Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa) and PrimeWater Infrastructure.

A resolution on the matter authored by Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr. was unanimously approved by the Sangguniang Panlungsod during their regular session Wednesday.

PrimeWater is owned by the family of former senator Manuel Villar who supported Duterte in the 2016 elections.

The resolution requested the President through the Department of Justice to investigate the matter and review the validity of the joint venture agreement between Baciwa and PrimeWater.

The councilor said that Baciwa (a government-owned and -controlled corporation) is imbued with public interest as its creation or charter emanated from Presidential Decree 198.

He cited Section 18 of Presidential Decree 198 which says that the function of the Baciwa board is to establish policy and shall not engage in the derailed management of the water district.

PrimeWater took over the operations of BACIWA on November 16, 2020 after a regional trial court dismissed the injunction case filed by Gamboa and a consumer group here.

As an offshoot, 60 employees were declared redundant by the Board of Directors.

Gamboa said the “dismissed” employees were terminated from Baciwa effective December 31.

He also said the status of the Baciwa employees will be tackled by the city council in their regular session next week.

But Councilor Ana Marie Palermo said the SP has no jurisdiction over the case of the 60 terminated employees. (Dolly Yasa via tdg, photo by tdg)

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