Legazpi water utility continues operations despite revocation of permit | Inquirer News
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Legazpi water utility continues operations despite revocation of permit

By: - Correspondent / @msarguellesINQ
/ 05:34 PM August 27, 2011

LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines—Philippine Hydro Inc. (Phil-Hydro), a multi-million water utility  here taken to task for its alleged dirty water, said that unless its contract is terminated by the Legazpi City Water District, it would continue supplying water to Legazpi despite the revocation of its business permit by the city government.

Getting its business permit revoked did not mean it could just stop operating, said Rollie Mangulabnan, Phil-Hydro chief operating officer, as “the company has a standing contractual obligation” with LCWD to supply water to the city.

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Mangulabnan also maintained that Phil-Hydro has a “moral obligation to provide the public with their basic needs (water),” as he disputed a report that the water provided to at least 22,5000 households in this city was contaminated by e coli bacteria.

City Administrator Noel Rosal said mounting complaints from consumers about Phil-Hydro’s failure to provide clean potable water prompted the city government to cancel the facility’s permit on August 22.

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He said groups such as the Community Organization of the Philippine Enterprises (COPE) Foundation Inc., Entrepinay Legazpi chapter, and the Legazpi City Planning and Development Council had filed resolutions saying the water in the city “is murky and foul-smelling.”

But Mangulaban said Phil-Hydro would ask the city government for reconsideration in the hope they could be given at least six months to comply with the requirements imposed by the Department of Health.

Nestor Santiago, DOH regional director for Bicol, earlier said the utility had failed to secure permits to operate as a bulk water service provider.

Mangulabnan also denied that the water they supply to the LCWD is contaminated with e coli bacteria as shown by findings of the Sangguniang Panlungsod’s (SP) committee on public utilities which tested water samples from Phil-Hydro’s pipelines.

He questioned the process of gathering of the water samples, saying the investigating team could have taken samples outside the company’s processing facility or the production area, which is the Yawa River.

“Water gathered outside the processing facility would indeed be positive for various contaminations such as iron, manganese and foul smell,” he said.

LCWD officials said they would  hold  consultations with various stakeholders before deciding on the fate of Phil-Hydro.

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Phil-Hydro entered into a contract to supply the LCWD with bulk water in March 2007. It said its new technology, which taps water from rivers instead of springs, could convert surface water into “bottled water quality.”

The company invested P500 million to operate the facility that provides 600,000 cubic meters of water monthly to the water district. In turn LCWD pays Phil-Hydro P8.1 million a month for the water it currently distributes to at least 22,500 households.

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