Laguna town files complaint vs water firm over unreliable supply

Iya Gozum

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Laguna town files complaint vs water firm over unreliable supply
(2nd UPDATE) Bay Municipal Administrator Joanna Patricia Padrid tells the Local Water Utilities Administration that the continuous water interruptions ‘have been severely affecting our residents for more than a year now’

MANILA, Philippines – The municipal government of Bay in Laguna has lodged a complaint before the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) for the unreliable water supply services of Laguna Water District Aquatech Resources Corporation (LARC).

In a letter to LWUA dated May 30, Bay Municipal Administrator Joanna Patricia Padrid described the situation as “untenable” and that the water interruptions have been going on for more than a year now.

“The continuous water interruptions have disrupted daily life, affecting households, businesses, schools, and healthcare facilities,” Padrid wrote.

“The lack of reliable water supply poses serious health risks and hampers economic activities in our municipality. Our residents have shown remarkable patience, but their frustration is growing as the essential service they are entitled to remains unreliable,” she added.

The town is asking LWUA to investigate LARC and impose necessary sanctions.

LWUA Chairman Ronnie Ong said they had already confirmed a meeting with Laguna Water District general manager Jesus Miguel Bunyi and LARC general manager Enrique Gita “so that LWUA, as regulator, can step in and provide assistance on the issue.”

LARC is the sole water concessionaire of Bay. It is a joint venture of Laguna Water District and Equipacific HoldCo. Incorporated. The company also supplies water to the neighboring towns of Los Baños, Calauan, Victoria, and Nagcarlan.

Enrique Razon’s Manila Water recently acquired a 70% stake in Equipacific, which in turn holds 90% of the outstanding shares of LARC.

Manila Water Philippine Ventures (MWPV) said in a statement that they are currently in transition after the acquisition. 

MWPV said that while the old LARC management still oversees the operations under the transition period, they are “currently in the process of evaluating the extent and gravity of these concerns.” 

“For now, we are looking at solutions that will temporarily address these concerns over the next 3-6 months,” MPPV said. “We will present these plans to key stakeholders and customers once ready.” 

Bay Mayor Jose Padrid sent letters to LARC on June 13, 2023, and on July 7, 2023, following up on “deficient water pressure and supply experienced by most of the residents in our municipality.” In January, the mayor requested a facility inspection.

According to their complaint to LWUA, LARC never responded to their letters since last year and only approached them in April this year when the local government decided not to issue LARC a business license and mayor’s permit. –

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Iya Gozum

Iya Gozum covers the environment, agriculture, and science beats for Rappler.