PPCWD approves lower Puerto Princesa water bills

(L-R) Councilor Rolando Amurao. PPCWD general manager Antonio Jesus Romasanta, PPCWD board of directors Atty. Allan Carlos and Mylene Ballares, PPC Mayor Lucilo Bayron, PPCWD BOD chairman Atty. Winston Gonzales, Atty. Raymund Acosta, and city information officer Richard Ligad during the turnover on Monday, December 17, of the resolution copy approving the P1 rollback in water bills. (Photo courtesy of the PPC Information Office)

Water consumers in Puerto Princesa City can expect a P1 per cubic meter decrease for every first 10-cubic meter consumption on their bills starting January 2019 to help ease the effects of the rising inflation rate.

The rate reduction was approved on December 5, 2018, by the board of directors (BOD) of the Puerto Princesa City Water District (PPCWD) under Resolution No. 08-18-176.

Water district general manager Antonio Jesus Romasanta and the BOD headed by its chairman, Atty. Peter Winston Gonzales, presented the copy of the measure to Mayor Lucilo Bayron on Monday at the City Hall.

Gonzales said it was not hard for the BOD to approve the rollback which was the result of a request made by Bayron during the anniversary of the PPCWD in August this year.

He said the water rate reduction was requested by the city mayor due to a general increase in prices and fall in the purchasing value of money.

“Hindi naman po mahirap gawin. Sa totoo nyan noong kami ay nagdiwang ng aming anniversary noong August, dumalo si mayor at sa pagdalo na ‘yon hindi lamang siya pumunta doon para makisalo at makisaya kundi bumati… pero ang pangunahing punta niya ay upang ipakiusap na kung maaari kahit konti maibaba ‘yong water rates para maibsan din ‘yong kahirapan (It’s not hard for us to decide. Honestly, when we celebrated our anniversary in August, the mayor attended and he didn’t go just to eat and celebrate with us… his primary purpose is to request if we could lower the water rates to ease our hardship),” he said in a video interview by the City Information Office (CIO).

Gonzales said the BOD then recommended to the PPCWD management to study the appeal of the city government to lower water rates.

He said the amount may not be that high, but when summed up together, can also be a huge relief to water consumers.

“Kung meron mang mawawala sa amin, madali naman pong mababawi ‘yon. In terms of income, totoo medyo substantial ‘yong mawawala pero hindi naman makakaapekto sa aming operasyon at ‘yon ay baka mas makagaganda pa kung gagandahan natin ang ating serbisyo (If there will be loses, we will also gain them back. In terms of income, it’s true there will be a substantial loss but it will not affect our operations and maybe it will even be better for us if we will get our services better),” Gonzales said.

Atty. Allan Carlos, one of the BOD members and the proponent of the measure with Mylene Ballares, said the rollback in water tariffs is no joke since the PPCWD will lose an estimated P15-P20 million in revenues.

“Ngunit ang mawawala sa water district ay makukuha naman ng taumbayan… dahil sa patuloy na pagtaas ng inflation rate sa Pilipinas… because of that napapanahon na paunlakan ‘yong kahilingan ng city leadership na ibsan ang pasanin ng taumbayan (But what the water district will lose will go also to the people… due to the increase in inflation in the Philippines… because of that it is timely to give in to the appeal of the city leadership to help ease the burden of the people),” Carlos also said in another CIO video interview.

Carlos said economic managers of the country had said that this year’s inflation rate of 6.4% in August to 6.7% in September 2018 is the highest in eight years.

Meanwhile, Romasanta said the PPCWD took months to study the decrease and grant the city government’s request because they needed to check their capital expenses (CAPEX) first.

“Tiningnan pa natin ‘yong CAPEX natin. Tiningnan pa natin ‘yong mga operation program kasi medyo hindi rin biro ‘yong pera na mawawala. Kaya lang, mas na-consider namin na maalalayan ang mga tao ngayon sa kanilang needs (We still checked our CAPEX. We still studied our operation program because the money we will lose is quite big. However, we all considered helping our people now in their needs),” Romasanta said.

He said water consumers will see their January monthly bills go down by P1 or even up to P10 depending on their consumption.

Romasanta said their current monthly minimum rate is P280 for the initial 10 cubic meters.

“So instead of paying P280, [ay] P270 nalang. [Pero] ‘yong first 10 [cubic meters] only. Alam mo naman ngayon, taghirap dahil sa inflation. Ang hirap ng buhay ngayon (So instead of paying P280, they will only pay P270. But this is only for the first 10 cubic meters. You know how life is today, it’s hard due to inflation),” said Romasanta. (with a report from Gillian Faye Ibañez)

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