Iloilo City mayor stops water pipe repair diggings

By David Israel Sinay
Last updated 06:43pm (Mla time) 06/26/2007

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — Mayor Jerry Treñas stopped the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) from further digging up streets to fix water pipes after the utility allegedly failed to restore the streets and pavements it had dug up.


“The MIWD is barred from proceeding with its project” unless it restores the streets and pavements to their original state and fixes the damage it caused to city roads, Treñas said on Tuesday.


The main water pipelines of MIWD are buried one meter in the ground. It is currently rehabilitating old pipes and replacing unserviceable ones.


Treñas lamented the damage MIWD’s excavations wrought on the city’s road network.


The excavations, he noted, are not only eyesores but obstruct the flow of traffic and are dangerous to motorists and pedestrians.


Treñas said the city government spent millions of pesos to rehabilitate the city’s road network in the six years he has served as mayor and he would no longer allow the MIWD to continue destroying the roads.


MIWD interim general manager Edwin Reyes, however, said road restoration is the responsibility of the City Engineer’s Office (CEO). He said that under Ordinance No. 291, which the city government approved in 1982, applicants for new service connections are required to deposit an amount at the City Treasurer’s Office equivalent to the damage to be incurred during excavation.


Should the water concessionaire fix the damage to any road or public infrastructure, a reimbursement of the deposit at the CTO could be made.


He cited a provision in Ordinance 291 that said that in case of failure by the concessionaire to restore the damage, the CEO “shall undertake the work chargeable to the deposit of the applicant.”


On March 22, 2006, the City Council made an adjustment for the schedule of payment for the restoration and excavation permit fee ranging from P830 per square meter for macadam pavement to P1,688.75 per square meter for concrete pavement — from the previous P50 per square meter for macadam pavement to P250 for concrete pavement.


The City Council made the necessary amendments on the fees because “most of the excavated roads were left unrestored to its original form due to the low restoration fee but higher construction costs…those restoration fess 20 years ago are no longer applicable in today’s prices of materials and labor cost.”


“It should be the CEO that should restore the roads,” Reyes said but he claimed that the MIWD assumed the responsibility of restoring roads where there were excavation works.


“What happened to the payment? Will the city government reimburse us, especially now that they have increased the restoration and excavation permit fee [or] will that make up as earnings of the city?…” he added.


MIWD has an ongoing P207-million rehabilitation project that includes replacement of old and damaged pipelines. It is expected to end in July.


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