Consumer group asks City Council to stop DCWD 100-million peso loan

Feb. 12, 2008

Davao City Wearing white shirts printed with “no to water privatization,” some 20 leaders of Consumers Alert! (CA) trooped to the City Council or Sangguniang Panglungsod (SP) to urge councilors to bar the DCWD management from acquiring a 100-million peso loan that will accelerate the privatization of the Davao City Water District (DCWD).

“We are concerned that the Council might be sitting on the issue of the DCWD loan; thus we have come here to the SP to take to task our councilors,” CA convenor and DCWD union chairperson Rudy Aranjuez said.

In a hearing last year, the group passed a position paper opposing the 100-million peso loan that DCWD management said will fund the water utility firm’s expansion project. The DCWD union had showed documents proving that water district earned a net income of 175 million pesos in 2006 alone and has no need to borrow money.

The DCWD management did not appear in that said hearing. Instead, they told the SP members that they would be calling for their exclusive Executive-Legislative meeting, which did not materialize after several months.

Villafuerte has yet to pass a resolution to the Council for deliberation and action.

He said he will request the appearance of the DCWD management before the City Council in its next plenary session.

Cora Espinosa, one of the CA convenors, noted that “the DCWD (management) is holding the Council hostage by not showing up for the hearings, insulting the dignity of the Chamber and the sentiments of the people. We are wary that the delay on the part of the City Council would mean the eventual granting of the 100-million peso loan and the privatization of the DCWD.”

The privatization of DCWD is included in the 2004-2010 Medium Term Philippine Development Plan of the Arroyo regime. The privatization of government entities is expected to earn the government higher revenues.

The Local Water Utility Administration has been instrumental in allowing corporate take over the water districts nationwide. LWUA is the body that grants loans to public utility companies, such as DCWD.

“The people of Davao City will be facing the same fate suffered by water consumers with privatized water districts if we allow this. There will be higher water rates and degraded service,” Aranjuez warned.#

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