ILOILO CITY — Metro Pacific Water (MPW) and Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) formally started of operations of their joint venture company Metro Iloilo Water (MIW).

MIW covers the water distribution system in Iloilo City and its neighboring municipalities.

MPW, the wholly owned water infrastructure investments subsidiary of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), and MIWD signed a 25-year concession deal for the expansion and improvement of the water distribution system as well as wastewater management facilities of MIWD.

The water distribution system will now be handled by MIW, while MIWD will be monitoring the performance of MIW with regards to the service contract agreements.

“The commencement of this new joint venture marks the start of the improved living conditions among the Ilonggos. Access to potable water is a basic human right and as experts in the water industry, it is incumbent upon us to address the water needs of our countrymen and ensure proper waste sanitation through proper waste management,” MPIC President and Chief Executive Officer Jose Maria K. Lim said in his opening speech.

Mr. Lim, also a director at MPW, said MPIC brings with it the technical capacity and experience of Maynilad Water Services, Inc., one of the two concessionaires in the capital and neighboring areas.

“Maynilad has dedicated itself in improving the lives of 9.5 million people within its concession. This is the role we also see MIW planned for the people of Iloilo, supplying the Ilonggos with sustainable water while helping them protect the environment though the treatment of waste water,” he said.

MIW President Eriberto R. Calubaquib, for his part, said their priority would be to meet the demand of the existing 40,000 customers in Iloilo City and municipalities of Oton, Maasin, Cabatuan, Sta. Barbara, Leganes, and San Miguel.

“Right now, we have 40,000 service connections and the supply of service is not consistently 24/7 since the water is being rationed. The first approach is really to satisfy the existing customers that they get sufficient water before we do the expansion to other consumers,” he said.

Mr. Calubaquib added that in the next five years, they target to expand their serviced household population from the current 20% to 35%.

“Right now, we have a population served at 20%. Our plan is in the next five years, this 20% that are being served today in a ration basis, they will get 24/7 supply and then we increase the population from 20% to 35% of the population,” he said.

Amaryllis Josephine C. Castro, officer-in-charge of the MIWD Office of the General Manager, added that they are aiming to reduce non-revenue water to 35% from 50% over the 25-year concession as well as expand service in the Molo and Arevalo districts.

“We will be going through a lot of adjustments and there is an adjustment period that is happening now, but for sure the consumers will experience improved water services in the metro,” she said.

Meanwhile, Ms. Castro called on existing MIWD customers to sign their new water contracts under the new distribution company.

“More than 60% of the MIWD customers have already transferred to MIW and we would like to appeal to those who haven’t processed yet to please do so. We target to finish it by September 30,” she said.

MPIC is one of three key Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc.

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