A NEW company owned by businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan would start supplying water to the city, including parts of Misamis Oriental, two months from now.
COWD chairman Eduardo Montalvan revealed this to the Gold Star Daily yesterday, two days after the COWD signed a joint venture agreement with Metropac Water Investments Corp. to supply 100 million liters of tap water to the city daily.
Rio Verde Water Consortium Inc., the firm that presently supplies bulk water to the Cagayan de Oro Water District, is silent. But talk has it that the Pangilinan group was negotiating for a buyout or the firm of Jose Alvarez already sold out for an estimated price of P2.5 billion to P3 billion. Metropac has reportedly started taking in Rio Verde employees.
But Montalvan said Rio Verde would continue supplying bulk water to COWD “but if it stops, they (Pangilinan group) would be able to absorb it.”
The joint venture agreement would make the COWD a part of the new company to be called Cagayan de Oro Bulk Water Corp. with a five-percent share or P7 million. Metropac agreed to put up P133 million or 95 percent of the new firm’s paid-in capital of P140 million.
Montalvan said the COWD would have a seat in the corporation’s board.
Metropac is a subsidiary of Pangilinan’s Metro Pacific Investments Corp..
The joint venture agreement was signed at the Local Water Utilities Administration office in Quezon City by Metropac president Laurence Rogero and COWD general manager Rachel Beja.
Montalvan said the venture would provide Cagayan de Oro a daily supply of 100 million liters of potable water, more than enough to supply the over 90 thousand service connections of households and businesses in the city. COWD currently serves a population of over 700 thousand.
The firm would invest some P2.8 billion for a project that includes the construction of new water transmission lines, and rehabilitation of the Camaman-an reservoir.
Montalvan said, initially, the firm would supply tap water to western areas of the city, including Opol town in Misamis Oriental, that rely much on deep wells.
Like Rio Verde, the new corporation would mainly engage in the treatment of water and supply it to COWD. It would also construct, rehabilitate, operate and maintain various water production, treatment and transmission facilities and related infrastructure including but not limited to reservoirs.
But while the agreement was signed only this week, a disclosure filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that Metropac was already awarded with the bulk water project as early as March 21, 2017 after a comparative (Swiss) challenge mandated by the 2013 Revised Joint Venture Guidelines of the National Economic and Development Authority.
The project has a term of 30 years and renewable for another 20 years, and involves the daily supply of up to 100 million liters of treated water to COWD.
In a statement sent to this paper, Pangilinan stated: “Cagayan de Oro needs water, like many other areas in the Philippines. We cannot continue relying on deep wells which are not environmentally friendly in the long run. So you really have to draw it somewhere else and treat it as well for the people.”
Mayor Moreno, who graced the ceremonial signing of the joint venture agreement at the Shangri-La Hotel in Makati on Tuesday, said, “We welcome Metro Pacific and its investment in water. Without that, you cannot expect Cagayan de Oro to be livable, and competitive, and we need a lot of catching up to do.
“We welcome this joint venture to even grow further to respond to more challenging times ahead with the objective of making Cagayan de Oro the prime city down south. We have all the ingredients and this is one milestone in this episode of Cagayan de Oro that we are part of. Someday we will look back at this with pride and say we have been part of that history.”