PH’s largest water project gets approval from Davao City council
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – An Aboitiz-led joint venture has passed a legal hurdle here as it gained a majority vote from the city council to establish a P10-billion water treatment facility.
The majority vote on Tuesday, October 10, was to pass for third and final reading an ordinance that would permit the Apo Agua Infrastructura Inc. (AAII) to construct the country’s first bulk water system.
“I have been pushing for this many months back,” Councilor Bernard Al-ag, one of those who voted for the measure, said.
The project faced a hurdle at the City Council as local legislators perceived it as critical to the environment, being situated within a watershed area.
Also, AAII would supply up to 300 million liters per day of potable bulk water from the Tamugan River, which was also one of the concerns raised by councilors previously.
But the firm, a joint venture between Aboitiz Equity Ventures and JV Angeles Construction Corporation, explained this would be beneficial to this city as it would enable ground water aquifers to recover and recharge.
The project is deemed important as the city, according to the Davao City Water District (DCWD), has been experiencing a shortage of water supply since 2016.
Around 2,000 of the city’s 9,000 active service connections do not enjoy an adequate water supply, the DCWD said. This is partly because the Dumoy water supply system is undergoing maintenance and has yet to complete the construction of an additional two water wells.
The facility is AEV’s first venture in bulk water distribution, and will be the country’s first one with a treatment facility to be powered by a hydroelectric component of the project. Thus, it will operate independent of the Mindanao power grid.
The council approval is not the final level of legal challenges the project needs to face.
Cirilo Almario III, AAII general manager, said the company would need to obtain permits from the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Agrarian Reform.
Under its contract with DCWD, AAII will pay the state-owned water distribution firm P10 million annually for the first 10 years. Subsequently, it a P5-million increment every 10 years will be added on top of the annual payment until the 30th year.
The Aboitiz-led venture enjoys an exclusive contract it got from DCWD in 2014 to finance, design, construct, and operate the Tamugan Surface Water Project. In 2013, they submitted an unsolicited proposal to the water distribution firm, and faced no counter-bids when the proposal was placed under a Swiss challenge.
In Davao City, the Aboitiz group holds interest in the Davao Light and Power Company and Terma South Inc’s 300 MW Coal-Fired Power Plant. – Rappler.com