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18 June 2014

Olongapo gets P54.3-M water system upgrade

OLONGAPO CITY— Two upland communities in this city which have been without piped water since time immemorial broke into celebration after private utility firm Subic Water and Sewerage Co., Inc. (SUBICWATER) activated its three water supply expansion projects worth P54.3 million on Monday.

Residents of Nagbaculao and Sibul areas of this city in their joy took a surprise shower as Olongapo City Mayor Rolen Paulino and SUBICWATER Chairman Herbert Consunji led the ceremonial opening of water valves which, they say, signifies ‘the rush of developments’ coming to the 1,000 families who rely on spring water.

Included in this water infrastructure development are three concrete reservoirs with a total capacity of 5.6 million liters, a pump station, and some 7.2 kilometers of new pipelines, according to Consunji.

“These completed projects, aside from bringing piped water service to these two areas, will also increase water pressure in barangays Asinan, Pag-asa, New Kalalake, East Tapinac, and East Bajac-bajac,” said Consunji.

Consunji explained that SUBICWATER inherited a dilapidated water system in 1997 and thus, had to concentrate first on the low-lying areas of the city, where water pressure was ‘so weak that it can’t even reach the second floor of a structure’.

“So far, SUBICWATER has spent a total of P1.5 billion to revolutionize our water system— from catchment, treatment, distribution, and even sewage treatment in the Freeport,” he added.

“Now that we have successfully boosted our raw water supply and increased our treatment and distribution capacities, SUBICWATER is resolved to bring treated water to the communities sitting along and atop the high ridges surrounding Olongapo City,” the SUBICWATER chairman said.

Mayor Paulino, on the other hand, congratulated SUBICWATER for ‘another successful project finished’.

“We must thank SUBICWATER for going the extra mile to bring water to this area, which I recall to have been without water even during the US Navy times,” said Paulino to some 300 residents gathered at Nagbaculao.

“Instead of spending hours lining up for water, you can now devote more time to your families, yourselves, and most importantly, to your livelihoods,” Paulino said.

Having learned that it takes an average of P1,500 per month to hire someone to fetch water, Paulino urged the residents to immediately apply for a water service connection as the average water bill of those consuming around 10,000 liters a month is about P263 only.

In light of those who will lose their jobs fetching water, Paulino gave assurance that his administration has enough jobs in store for them.

“The Americans are starting to go to Subic Bay. Please visit our city hall as we have numerous job opportunities in store for you; don’t be contented fetching water for your neighbors for the rest of your lives,” said Paulino.

SUBICWATER implemented the first built-operate-and-transfer (BOT) scheme for a water and sewerage system in Asia when it took over the water supply and sewerage system of the Subic Bay Freeport and Olongapo City in April 1997.

The firm, which was formed by a joint-venture agreement in 1996, is owned by Filipino construction firm DM Consunji Inc. (DMCI), Singaporean water specialist Sembcorp Industries Ltd. (Sembcorp), Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), and Maynilad Water Services Inc. (Hernan Habacon)

PHOTO
SHOWER OF BLESSINGS: A resident of Nagbaculao, Barangay Kalaklan gets sprayed with water as Olongapo City Mayor Rolen C. Paulino (leftmost) leads the inauguration rites of Subic Water and Sewerage Co., Inc.'s (SUBICWATER) recently-completed water supply expansion project— one of the three projects worth P54.3 that were activated on Monday. SUBICWATER Chairman Herbert Consunji (fourth from left) and company CEO Apollo C. Tiglao (in blue shirt), Barangay Kalaklan head Willie Umali (second from left) and other city officials joined the community’s celebration.

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