Negros Occidental

Aboitiz InfraCapital drops bid for controversial water project in Negros Occidental

Erwin Delilan

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Aboitiz InfraCapital drops bid for controversial water project in Negros Occidental

WATER SOURCE. The Imbang River in Silay City is seen to be one of the sources for the proposed P1.2 billion bulk water project of the provincial government of Negros Occidental. Erwin Delilan/Rappler

Erwin Delilan/Rappler

BACOLOD, Philippines – Aboitiz InfraCapital has dropped its bid for the controversial P1.2 billion bulk water project in Negros Occidental.

Negros Occidental Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II announced this in a press conference on Friday afternoon, May 17, hours after the news about growing opposition to the project was reported.

Diaz declined to disclose the reason for the company’s withdrawal, saying, “It’s confidential!”

Rappler tried to get the side of Aboitiz InfraCapital, but has not yet to receive a reply as of posting time. This story will be updated once they respond or issue an official statement.

Aboitiz InfraCapital was among the 11 firms that joined the pre-bid conference for the Negros Occidental Bulk Water Supply Project (NOBWSP) on February 7.

Diaz said the official bidding date is scheduled on June 27. He also said that some of the 10 remaining firms who joined the pre-bid conference have asked for an adjustment on the deadline for the submission of bid documents for the final bidding.

Over a month before the bidding date, Silay City Mayor Joedith Gallego aired his opposition to the project, saying on Thursday, May 17, that a majority of his city’s residents, sugar planters and industry players shared this position.

“It might harm Silay,” Gallego said in explaining her opposition to the project, but did not elaborate.

Silay and EB Magalona town will serve as host communities for the provincial water project, with their Imbang and Malogo rivers, respectively, as potential sources of surface water.

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Based on the plan, the project will produce 34.44 million liters per day (MLD) of potable or drinking water to be supplied to the localities of Manapla, EB Magalona, and the cities of Silay, Victorias, Talisay, and Bacolod.

The NOBWSP’s time frame through a public-private parrneship (PPP) is 38 years, including the three-year construction period.

Despite the opposition, Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Lacson said that the bidding will go on as scheduled.

“We will do everything to pursue the project,” the governor said. “We are armed with scientific basis in pursuing such.”

The NOBWSP is part Lacson’s quest for Negros Occidental to have water security in the next decades.

 Environmental groups have raised concerns about the project. 

Randy James Rojo, an officer of nongovernmental organization Group of Environmental Socialists (GOES) Incorporated, scored Lacson for issuing what he called “half-baked” statement amid snowballing opposition to the project.

“The Governor’s position lacks critical analysis and deep reflection. He must study first and engage with all stakeholders before issuing statements,” Rojo said.

He said that Lacson’s insistence on the project amid opposition “raises questions about Lacson’s leadership and decision-making abilities.”

Green Alert Network (GAN) founder Rusty Biñas earlier said that the province’s watershed, the Northern Negros Natural Park (NNNP), is already compromised by commercialization. –

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