FREE WATER FOR PARCHED COMMUNITIES. Mactan Rock Industries Inc. is providing free water to 15 sites in Cebu, including Pardo, Punta Princesa, Banilad, Cabadiangan and Compostela, to help communities cope with water scarcity. It plans to keep up this program until August.
CEBU-based bulk water provider Mactan Rock Industries Inc. (MRII) continues to expand its presence in Visayas and Mindanao, while desalinated water emerges as a popular alternative source given the scarcity in water supply.
After eight months of negotiations, MRII Chairman Antonio Tompar announced that Bacolod City Water District and MRII, along with partners TGV Builders, Inc. and Tubig Pilipinas Group, Inc. signed a 25-year contract for bulk water supply last month.
The project will require an estimated investment of P800 million. It would initially supply 10,000 cubic meters of water each per day for the north and south injection points of Bacolod and would expand up to 75,000 cubic meters of water per day each, after 10 years.
Tompar said the company won the bid by offering the cheapest price. Water in Bacolod’s northern area is priced at P8.85 per cubic meter, and P9.85 per cubic meter in the south.
MRII also signed a contract last week for another joint venture with Metro Cotabato Water District for 5,000 cubic meters per day of bulk water in Cotabato City. This yield is expandable to 20,000 cubic meters per day.
According to Tompar, this project in Cotabato would roughly cost P50 million to P200 million in investments.
MRII has over 50 bulk water supply plants spread across the country. It built five additional water plants last year.
Tompar said that with the water scarcity faced by the country, many local government units, businesses and industries have turned to desalinated water to ensure continuous supply in the midst of the dry spell that is already affecting agri-business, among others.
Last Friday, the Cebu City Government declared a state of emergency due to the water shortage, particularly in the mountain barangays.
The dry spell, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pag-asa) Mactan may extend up to June. The Metro Cebu Water District disclosed it will buy close to 10,000 cubic meters of water per day from bulk water suppliers to address water shortage.
“Desalination is more reliable now (considering our wells have already dried up),” said Tompar.
Desalination is the process of turning seawater into potable drinking water by removing the salinity or salt components. Although it is more expensive than surface water, Tompar said industries now realize it is better to pay more than suffer from a water shortage.
“Water supply is crucial to every business,” he noted.
As a way of helping communities cope with the water shortage, MRII has embarked on a corporate social responsibility (CSR) project of giving free water to 15 sites in Cebu in Pardo, Punta Princesa, Banilad, Cabadiangan, and Compostela.
The Libreng Tubig Program, according to Tompar, will run until August.
He urged the private sector to do their share and participate in giving free water to communities severely affected by the dry spell.
Adequate water supply is one of the issues raised by business leaders that the next set of elected officials in Cebu should prioritize.
“We can’t be a paradise of livability and competitiveness if we don’t have water, if we don’t have clean water,” said Cebu Business Club president Gordon Alan Joseph in an earlier interview.
“What is frightening, too, is that the current fresh water levels are critically low. The call to do something about Cebu’s water supply is over 50 years old. This was predicted a long time ago,” added Joseph, one of the co-chairs of the Metro Cebu Development Coordinating Board