Prime Water Infrastructure Corporation, a company owned by billionaire businessman and former senator Manny Villar, will soon be under fire like in the cases of Ayala Corporation’s Manila Water Company and Pangilinan group’s Maynilad.
The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives claims that it has strong evidence proving Prime Water’s speedy and anomalous takeover of around 70 local water districts (LWD) in the Philippines.
Bayan Muna Representative Ferdinand Gaite cited that their roster of witnesses includes the employees who lost their jobs, consumers who complain about Prime Water’s service, and the water district officials. The latter will prove the irregularities of Prime Water’s Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA).
Makabayan urges the House leadership to act on the resolution filed before the House Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization, requesting to conduct an inquiry against Villar’s company.
House Resolution No.10 questions why Prime Water’s 25-year-long JVA with the LWDs pushed through amid the disputes. Apart from Gaite, Makabayan bloc members who filed the resolution include Bayan Muna Reps. Carlos Isagani Zarate and Eufemia Caramat, Act Teacher party-list Rep. France Castro, Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas, and Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago.
The bloc exemplified Prime Water’s JVA with the San Jose del Monte City Water District. Consumer group Alliance for Consumers Protection and residents complain about the water price hike from P280 to P500 despite the shortage and poor quality. Also, Prime Water’s takeover of the Bacolod City Water District resulted in the termination of its 300 employees.
Prime Water now covers 16 regions, 36 provinces, and 125 cities and municipalities in the country.