File photo courtesy of Puerto Princesa Water District Facebook page.

The Puerto Princesa City Water District (PPCWD) lost some P50 million in sales in 2020 after several major establishments closed shop because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

General manager Walter Laurel said Wednesday that the PPCWD has an average annual net income of around P80 to P90 million but last year, they recorded a loss of P50 million which affected their capital expenditures.

“Nagkaroon ng pandemic, nagsara ‘yong hotels, nagsara ‘yong establishments, bumaba ang sales, I think nabawasan kami ng around P50 million sa benta. Malaki ang nawala sa income ng water district. As you all know, we run through our own income, we don’t receive any subsidy,” Laurel said.

Laurel mentioned several large establishments such as Robinsons Place whose consumption from around P300,000 to P400,000 dropped to P100,000 and SM which went down from P800,000 to P300,000.

Aside from the consumption of private establishments, PPCWD also observed a reduction in government consumption as they learned that some offices of government agencies have transferred to malls. The consumption of government offices has contributed to the consumption of commercial establishments.

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The skeleton workforce arrangement of government offices also reduced their consumption, he said.

He, however, explained that despite the decrease in sales, water district managed to survive as it still earned enough to continue operation.

“Even though nabawasan ang ating sales, before year-end kumita pa rin ang water district. Nabawasan lang ang benta, nabawasan din ang ating net income. Ang implication, dahil kaunti ang dumating na pera, ang nangyari, nag-reduce kami ng capital expenditures,” he said.

PPCWD assistant general manager for administration and finance Ronnie Fernandez also said the loss in sales has affected their expansion and made them prioritize projects.

“Lahat talaga naapektuhan. Ang ginawa natin, nag-prioritize tayo ng mga project na i-implement, yon ang naapektuhan, doon tayo nagbawas. Wala tayong binawas na tao, in fact nagha-hire pa tayo and nag-regular ng mga position. Ang naapektuhan lang ay ‘yong expansion,” he said.

“Napakaganda kasi ng nangyari bago mag-pandemic, financially stable, financially sustainable naman ang water district kaya kahit dumaan yong pandemic ay nakahanda tayo ma-sustain ang operation. Hindi tayo pwedeng huminto dahil basic need itong tubig. Nakapaghanda at naging maganda naman ang mga naunang projects kaya stable tayo,” he added.

Fernandez also stated that if the PPCWD will fall short of funding in the future, they can still apply for loans with the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).

“Sa future natin, kung short pa rin tayo sa funding sa sales, nandyan ang DBP. Willing naman ang bank mag-extend pa ng pautang para hindi mabinbin ‘yong future projects, he explained. 

No water rate increase

Fernandez also said that despite the loss in income and several projects lined up, water district will not implement any rate increase. He explained that the last time they increased their rate was in 2010.

Recently, he said what the PPCWD did was reduce the minimum rate consumption.

“Ang pinakahuli natin ay 2010 increase. [In fact] ibinaba pa natin noong 2019 sa P270 from P280. Puerto Princesa lang sa buong Pilipinas ang nagbaba ng ganoon,” he said.

“Sa opinion ko, wala tayong nakikitang pagtaas ng water rates. Katulad ng sinabi ko, financially stable ang water district so hindi kailangan magtaas pa at ibigay ang burden sa mga mamamayan,” he added.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.