NDF: DCWD-Hedcor deal will pave way to water utility privatization

Aug. 26, 2008

The National Democratic Front (NDF) in southern Mindanao cautioned the public against the collusion of the Aboitiz-owned Hedcor Tamugan Incorporated (HTI) and the state-owned Davao City Water District (DCWD) as the two entities gear up for a so-called “win-win” solution to operate and exploit the Tamugan and Panigan rivers in Davao City.

This win-win solution is a prelude to the sinister privatization scheme being cooked up by the Aboitizes and the DCWD management. The HTI reportedly plans to put up a six billion peso 34.5-megawatt hydropower plant in the same area where the DCWD plans to put up a 1.3 billion peso pipe-laying project.

The DCWD previously argued against the HTI’s supposed encroachment in their concession, but the wind has changed, so to speak. This time, DCWD avers that they could come up with an agreement with the HTI if the latter will shoulder their operational expenses in building the former’s project. Previously, the DCWD has hyped on the public on the need to secure a 100-million peso loan to finance its pipeline project.

Indeed, the real intentions of the DCWD and the Aboitiz are all the more exposed and the fears of the public against threats of impending sale of the state-owned water facility are all the more confirmed. Other water districts in the country, such as the Metropolitan Waterworks Sewerage System (MWSS) in Manila underwent the same fate of smooth transition to privatization.

The Aboitizes stand to benefit in the impending joint undertaking in Tamugan and is poised to take over the public water utility firm. Already enjoying the benefits of a monopoly in the city’s power utility, the Aboitizes have the resources, the capital and the political influence to fasten its grip on the DCWD. Then too, Atty. Eliseo Braganza, head of the DCWD board of directors plays a crucial role in tying the knot, he being a former legal counsel of the Davao Light and Power Company–a sister company of the HTI.

The public stands to suffer if the water utility is eventually passed on to the Aboitizes. Already burdened with high electricity and water rates, as well as soaring prices of basic commodities, the people will be at the mercy of profit-driven corporations.

The NDF upholds the dismantling of the dominance of the big comprador-landlords over the economy and to implement a program of national industrialization on basic industries including water and electricity. The people must resist any onerous agreement between the HTI and the DCWD. The local City Council must stand guard against any threat of privatization of the DCWD.

For reference:

(Sgd) Rubi del Mundo


National Democratic Front of the Philippines

Southern Mindanao

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