City gov’t eyes to subsidize Zambo water firm

The Zamboanga City Hall. (PNA photo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The l government is looking into subsidizing the Zamboanga City Water District (ZCWD) to cushion the impact of an impending water rate hike on the residents.

Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said Saturday she has directed the creation of a technical working group (TWG) to work with ZCWD’s management to ensure water security and protect the interests of residents.

“I directed that a technical working group be created so that we will be able to look at the figures and see how the city government will subsidize the water district,” Salazar said.

ZCWD has announced that the new rate, amounting to a minimum charge of PHP210, was approved through a resolution by the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Board of Trustees last year.

The rate hike becomes effective next month.

“This translates to a PHP25 adjustment from the current PHP185 or PHP210 minimum charge for the first 10 cubic meters. Based on the LWUA resolution, the ZCWD Board of Directors passed a resolution setting the implementation of the PHP25 water rate adjustments,” the ZCWD said in a statement.

It said the PHP25 rate adjustment represents 13 percent of the proposed adjustment of PHP278 or PHP93 it filed before the LWUA in May last year.

The increase is necessary for the utility company to operate efficiently while addressing the burgeoning demand from a growing population, it added.

Dante Vicente, ZCWD vice-chairperson of the board, said the water firm faces possible bankruptcy by October this year if it fails to implement a water rate increase to help fund its operations.

Meanwhile, Salazar said the ZCWD must develop a rehabilitation plan to map its future directions and outline measures to prevent bankruptcy.

If not, she said, the local government would impose measures to protect the interest of the residents and “shield out people by the subsidies.”

Salazar has consistently opposed any water rate hike, citing the challenges faced by many residents during the pandemic. (PNA)

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