BY PET MELLIZA/ THE BEEKEEPER
Saturday and Sunday, August 11 and 12, the taps of MIWD were dry. They flowed but the water they produced was not enough even to fill a bucket.
MIWD is the acronym for Metro Iloilo Water District but given its dismal performance, it should be renamed Metro Iloilo Water-less District.
We did not know what caused the snafu. For decades, water has been rationed in the barangays of Guzman and Jesena, both in Mandurriao, Iloilo City. Taps there flow only in the morning and evening. At times, water flow at noon but that is an exception rather than the rule. People never grumbled.
Being accustomed to rationing, residents there stock water for drinking. For bathing and washing clothes, they have “tasuk” pumps to fill the gap.
It is just ironic that in a “highly urbanized city” as defined by the Local Government Code, like Iloilo City, residents and guests are tormented by water shortage.
Two weeks ago, water was abundant in Iloilo city and province due to heavy rains that overflowed creeks and rivers. But not a drop of that was fit for drinking.
Exalting Iloilo City “the next big thing” as the blurb of Rep. Jerry Trenas goes, or “my city, my pride”, if we went by Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog’s slogan, means nothing.
The city abattoir is even inferior to those of Iloilo’s 42 towns and one component city (Passi) whose slaughterhouses are accredited by the National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS).
Passi City has the best of them all. Every morning, a fleet of refrigerated vans of Monterey flock there to load carcasses of hogs and cattle. Monterey, one of the Philippines’ biggest disributors of frozen choice cuts, has an exclusive processing contract with the Passi City abattoir.
My City, My Pride? The water system of Iloilo City is far inferior to that of Igbaras, a mountain town 40 kilometers south of Iloilo. The town loaned P15 million in 2006 from the Light Water Utilities Administrator (LWUA). It did not have a hard time obtaining the loan; and it still had expert advise to boot courtesy of then LWUA administrator Larry Jamora.
The water district in Igbaras was conceived by Dr. Jaime Esmeralda, the mayor who brought significant improvements in the town.
There was strong opposition to it, mostly from the pack that former Ombudsman Director Virginia Palanca-Santiago blessed into graftbusters, who wanted to stop it allegedly for being graft-ridden. Now, the oppositors are enjoying the blessings of an efficient water system that eliminated the cost of electricity for those who formerly depended on power pumps to draw water from individual wells.
MIWD had this cute habit of sending its bills to consumers two or three days before deadline. Before, that was not a problem because several banks received payments for MIWD bills. Today, there is only a handful.
Should you pay late, the utility company gives you no other choice but proceed to its office at Bonifacio Bridge, and wait for hours on end because the reception area is filled to the rafters; people queuing for their turns to the counters overflew to the veranda of the 2nd floor of the MIWD building.
It’s just pathetic that despite the rush, only three counters are open to receive payment, one of which devoted to senior citizens and persons with disability who are given the privilege not to fall in line with younger clients.
Consumers in Iloilo City, those at the tail ends of the MIWD pipeline, customarily have power pumps to draw water into tanks.
In Igbaras, consumers are advised to erect water tanks then connect their taps to the tank. The pressure is very strong, all you have to do is open your connection to the elevated container and wait until it is filled without need of a pump. If your faucets were directly link to the main line without the mediation of the elevated tank, chances your own faucets can be busted from the pressure.
The main tank of the Igbaras Municipal Water District perches on a hilltop overlooking the poblacion. You don’t need pumps, as mentioned earlier but only an elevated tank to avoid the pressure that can wreak your domestic line.