By NITZ ARANCON
and LITO RULONA
THE Cagayan de Oro Bulk Water Inc. (Cobi) significantly increased its supply of treated water to the city by 20 million liters a day over the weekend, making good its promise to meet the growing demand of the water district.
Engr. Bienvenido Batar, general manager of the Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD), said Cobi started delivering 60 million liters a day at around 2 pm on Saturday.
The supply has been stable on Saturday afternoon, and COWD chairman Eduardo Montalvan said the water district hoped that there won’t be setbacks.
The 60-million liter daily delivery, according to Batar, “is our solution” to the water crisis that has gripped the western part of COWD’s service area.
“We hope that the Cobi system is now fully capable for the expected delivery (of 60 million liters a day),” Batar said.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the city council’s public utilities committee said a firm that has been supplying treated water in many areas throughout the country has expressed interest of competing with the COWD.
Councilor Teodulfo Lao, Jr. said the firm Balibago Water Resources Inc. has convinced the committee that it is capable of directly delivering treated water to water consumers.
Balibago has tied up with the Cagayan de Oro Water Technologies Development Corp..
The firm’s representatives presented their capability to the committee on Wednesday.
Balibago franchise acquisition manager Gabriel de Vera said the firm has a 60-year record of engaging in water supply services especially Pampanga.
Presently, he said, Balibago has 59 franchises nationwide.
“We rank among the top four largest private water operators in the country,” de Vera said.
Lao said Balibago would not be dependent on the facilities being used by COWD.
“Capable sila maghimo sa ilang kaugalingong water facilities, ug ang ilang water supply direct sa mga water consumers nga dili na mo-agi sa water district,” he said.
Lao said the firm, headed by former Bureau of Investments undersecretary Cristino Panlilio, has a track record of supplying water in 89 cities and provinces, including Nueva Ecija, Iloilo, Mati and General Santos, among others.
He said Balibago offers consumers a choice and cheaper treated water.
“Kon P21 per cubic meter ang price sa COWD, ang ila sa Balibago naa ra sa P20. So depende na dayon kini sa mga consumer kon asa sila magpata-od sa water connection,” Lao said.
He said the committee would call for another meeting and ask the opinion of the city legal officer and other stakeholders.
Lao said the next move would be for the committee to endorse the plan of Balibago.
Councilors Enrico Salcedo and Reuben Daba gave the Balibago proposal a thumbs up.
“I highly recommend and support Balibago Waterworks,” Salcedo said.
Daba, for his part, said the water supply in many areas of the city like Lumbia and Pagatpat has been problematic, and the entry of a new player could result in an improvement.
“Lumbia lang gani og Pagatpat, wala gani’y tubig hangtud karon,” said Daba.
He said it was not about getting rid of the COWD but about adding a new player to improve the water supply and break the years of COWD’s monopoly.