Tagbilaran City gets a huge boost on its water distribution efforts after it partnered with Metro Manila-based Maynilad Water Services Inc. sharing technical expertise in managing water resources.
Maynilad Water, the West zone concessionaire in the National Capital Region, entered into a twinning partnership recently where the water utility will be sharing its technical expertise on water loss and water pressure management, with the aim of helping the city government improve the water operations of its Tagbilaran City Waterworks System (TCWS).
Supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under its SURGE (“Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity”) Project, the one-year Twinning Partnership will benefit the almost 77,000 customers of TCWS living in 10 barangays within Tagbilaran City.
The partnership will entail a year-round assessment of TCWS’s operations to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement, as well as the conduct of technical and customer care trainings for its personnel.
“Through partnerships such as this one, we hope to be able to share the success of our Non-Revenue Water management strategies in the West Zone with other water operators. We are glad to contribute to the progressive development of the province of Bohol,” said Maynilad President and CEO Ramoncito S. Fernandez.
The technical assistance provided by USAID-SURGE led by its coordinator Linda Paredes and Water and Sanitation Specialist Engr. Evelyn Sagun also provided the much-needed boost to enhance the operations of TCWS.
The team from Maynilad visited Tagbilaran last week. The team headed by Edmund Perez with Freddie Ulili, WiljeimLaureola, Roldan Penida and Rodelio Serrano conducted capacity building among the personnel of the TCWS led by Engr. Peter Busano in the enhancement of revenue generation, billing and collection system and hydraulic modelling. TCWS with the Maynilad team worked in one pilot barangay to install a system which would improve the water distribution network of TCWS. This new system would later be replicated to the other barangays.
Yap said this technical assistance will definitely redound to an efficient public service delivery, “It is my long-time dream to have a waterworks system which can operate like a private corporation, one which can supply water 24/7. Maynilad’s technical assistance is a big leap for us. All these initiatives are reinforcements to the various measures which we have already implemented in TCWS, with the end goal of giving our constituents the best service possible,”
Maynilad also has twinning agreements with other local government units include those held for the water operators of Bulacan (Baliuag) and Negros Oriental (Bayawan City) in the Philippines, as well as those for Nepal and Bangladesh, which were done in partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Maynilad is the largest private water concessionaire in the Philippines in terms of customer base.
It is the agent and contractor of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for the West Zone of the Greater Manila Area, which is composed of the cities of Manila (certain portions), Quezon City (certain portions), Makati (west of South Super Highway), Caloocan, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, Navotas and Malabon all in Metro Manila; the cities of Cavite, Bacoor and Imus, and the towns of Kawit, Noveleta and Rosario, all in Cavite Province.
ENHANCEMENT OF CITY WATER SERVICES
The enhancement of services under the TCWS was commenced last year when City Mayor John Geesnell Yap launched a strict implementation of billing collection and tariff increase, mandating the unit to check all the existing accounts of its concessionaires and enforce the necessary penalties for delinquent accounts.
Busano said, the move was an eye-opener to rehabilitate the TCWS operations and accounting system. Economic Enterprises Head BebianoInting said the monthly collection of the TCWS only averages P500, 000 to P600,000, but after the initiative of Mayor Yap, the collection started to increase in 2016.
The collection averages reach P1 million, said the city media bureau.
TCWS is already financing its operational expenses, receiving no subsidy from the City Government. The financial independence achieved by TCWS is indeed a major feat, having been subsidized by the City Government for the past years.
WHAT IS SURGE?
SURGE is a flagship project of USAID that provides assistance to small cities in the Philippines to foster resilient economic growth and sustainable development.
SURGE has been instrumental in transforming key aspects in governance in Tagbilaran.
It has been instrumental in the financial restructuring and more efficient tax collection, which has soared four folds, said Yap.
Tagbilaran City pioneered the e-TRACSas a means to efficiently collect taxes to bolster the city’s coffer and be able to fund key projects to enhance the economic viability of the capital city.
The help of the SURGE has been recognized by the city government as one the key factors why the city won the Seal of Good Local Governance from the Department of Interior and Local Government.
The water resource support is just one among many assistance the SURGE project has given to the city, but it has also helped in developing tourism, culture and the arts.
Another key project supported by SURGE is the development of the heritage tours in the city. Tourists will be treated to a trip down memory lane in a bus as the tour will focus on the history and heritage of old Tagbilaran.
The tourism attraction hopes not just an entertainment foray, but an opportunity for the youth to learn about the past to appreciate what they have in the present, so they too can create a better future.
SURGE also helps in the climate change mitigation and disaster risk reduction for the city.