MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Audit (COA) expressed alarm over the plummeting profits of the San Jose del Monte City Water District (San Jose Water) in Bulacan following its joint venture agreement (JVA) with Villar-led PrimeWater Infrastructure Corporation.
In an audit report released on Tuesday, March 21, COA noted that before San Jose Water’s JVA with PrimeWater in May 2018, it posted the following earnings:
- P187.502 million in 2015
- P187.562 million in 2016
- P126.477 million in 2017
San Jose Water’s net income then plunged starting 2018, even turning negative in 2020 as its expenses reached P131.09 million but collections totaled only P125.74 million.
- P53.604 million in 2018
- P2.265 million in 2019
- negative P5.348 million in 2020
- P1.524 million in 2021
- P3.973 million in 2022
COA advised San Jose Water to find ways to boost its net income, including seeking a bigger share of revenues.
But the water district’s management said it cannot ask for a bigger share because PrimeWater would only increase rates and place the burden on consumers.
“The way the management puts it is like saying that it is but normal for PrimeWater to earn P180 million annually while it is acceptable for the government…to earn only P1 million to P4 million or even occasional losses of P5 million per annum,” COA said.
State auditors also pointed out that under the guidelines of the National Economic and Development Authority, JVAs should be geared toward “earning potential profits” both for the government and the private entity it entered into a deal with. – Rappler.com
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