By: Modesto Sa-onoy
BEFORE I continue, let me accommodate a friend who asked that I sum up what so far had been exposed of Baciwa’s secrets to “put the late readers in perspective” rather than for them to trace back.
That sounds right since we have finished the first ten and because people in other water districts are starting to look closely. They also got loans from the Local Water Utilities Administration during this period and in fact reports say that the Department of Finance is poised to fill plunder cases against some former LWUA directors. It is possible they also got skinned by LWUA under the Gloria Arroyo administration.
Briefly, in 1999 Baciwa got funding for an initial P537.6 million from LWUA for Phase III of the water supply system development projects in Bacolod. It rose to P560 after adjustments which are not clear at this point until we are able to see the original contract and the amended one.
These two contracts have something fishy as well. If the initial report is true, these contracts may require the intervention of the National Bureau of Investigation.
The project was to commence in January 2003 and be completed in April 2004. Due to the cease and desist order of the city, the project stopped. Aside from this legal problem I learned just last week that there was insider maneuvering. It seems the project was purposely stalled or manipulated to be delayed.
The CDO was later lifted and the project works continued. But a series of problems erupted. As late as 2010 Baciwa claimed several phases of the project had not been completed and yet Baciwa began paying LWUA its amortization of over P6.5 million a month.
Although it was clear that the project was unfinished, Baciwa General Manager Juliana Carbon issued on December 18, 2009 a Certificate of Project Completion and Final Acceptance of Phase III.