CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — Amid the controversy surrounding the Maynilad Water Services and Manila Water, a group of cooperatives here pooled together their resources to put their own water company and serve mainly the city’s rural folk.
The Mindanao Cooperatives Water Service Federation (MCWS), a group of cooperatives mainly based in Cagayan de Oro, and Kyogojo Engineering Service Cooperative (KESC) have signed a joint venture agreement (JVA) on Thursday (Jan. 2).
The KESC, with the help of MCWS, will expand operations so it could serve more water consumers in the city’s rural barangays, said Isagani Daba, MCWS treasurer and former chairman of the First Community Cooperative (Ficco), one of the MCWS member-cooperatives.
This would mean more residents, especially in the hinterland villages, can soon enjoy potable water as the operation starts this month.
“This is to prove that the people, not huge corporations, can own and operate their own water system,” Daba said.
MCWS is composed of Ficco, Oro Integrated Cooperative, Xavier University Community Credit Cooperative, DMPI Employees and Community Credit Cooperative, Allied Services Multipurpose Cooperative, Oro Savings and Sharing Cooperative, City Hall Employees Multipurpose Cooperative, Provincial Capitol Employees Multipurpose Cooperative, Cepalco Community Multipurpose Cooperative, MOGCHS Faculty, Retirees, Employees and Students Multipurpose Cooperative, and PPSC Regional Training School X Employees and Staff Multipurpose Cooperative.
KESC, which will provide the technical expertise and capability to the joint venture, is also a member of the MCWS.
The federation was able to generate from the member-cooperatives some P132 million as a start-up capital even before the MCWS started its operations. But Daba said they could raise more amount if needed.
“The JVA has all the necessary ingredients to upgrade and expand water distribution service – technical skills and experience, as well as financial resources,” said the MCWS in a statement.
At present, KESC is serving the barangays of Lumbia, Taguanao, Baikingon, and Baikingon with 2,300 water consumers. With the latest venture, the MCWS will expand its operation to the current KESC service areas, as well as establish water system in the villages of Dansolihon, Mambuaya, Bayanga, and Indahag.
“Our intention in this JVA is to fast-track the expansion of water systems in areas not yet serviced by the [Cagayan de Oro Water District],” said Engr. Neil Bryan Oraiz, KESC president.
Oraiz said that although KESC has experience and expertise, “the MCWS has the financial capability to back up the investment since putting up a water system involves a lot of money.”
“The effort to have a cooperative water distribution service is geared towards the goal for consumers, the general public, to own and manage this basic necessity,” MCWS said.
It added: “What we are seeing now throughout the country is that water distribution is owned by taipans, if not cronies. So what the coops aim for is for the general public to own and manage public utilities, like water distribution. This can happen only through cooperatives.”
Presently, the Cagayan de Oro Water District, a government-owned and operated corporation, is the city’s main water provider. (davaotoday.com)