Synergy of strengths marks top Duterte infra

It is bound to create the biggest splash simply because it would be the largest water supply project under the Duterte Administration – held back for 10 years by a legal issue and took 20 years of development work.

Water – a universal want or need – requires no less than world class enterprises to tap, process, and deliver to consumers ever mindful of global health and safety standards.

And a corporate synergy of strength, stability, competence, and reliability is making this vision come true for residents of Metro Manila and adjoining communities.

Quite curiously, two industry giants are combining their corporate strengths from two opposite fields – the first in water front logistics mobilization and the other in land development.

It is said that all permanent or lasting undertakings must begin with the basics – earth, water, wind, fire.

If this is the case, the partnership of trail-blazing tycoons running a port operations based and land development and commercial conglomerates, respectively is firmly on the right track.

After all, water and soil are basic ingredients for growth.

The Razon Group of Companies, led by its flagship global port operator International Container Terminal Services Inc., and another local conglomerate also with a global reach, Ayala Group, through the Manila Water Company are joining hands to develop a bulk water supply project that would hopefully address recurring water shortages in Metro Manila and nearby areas.

While the project is a joint undertaking with MWC, half of the existing water duopoly, the other being Maynilad Water of the Metro Pacific Group led by tycoon Manuel B. Pangilinan, the entry of a third player in the water concession business is eagerly awaited by consumers, especially those who suffered prolonged water service interruption this summer.

The bulk water service to be provided by Razon’s Prime Infra is expected to greatly shore-up the supply in the face of expected spike in demand for water in new and high growth residential business, commercial and industrial areas in and around Metro Manila.

The chronic water shortage in Metro Manila and areas to its eastern borders may yet be fully resolved in two years, proponents of a new project have assured.

The assurance came on the heels of the approval by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System of the Wawa Bulk Water Supply Project, a joint venture between businessmen Enrique Razon’s Prime Infra and Oscar Violago’s San Lorenzo Ruiz Builders Group.

With the MWSS green light, Razon assured to speed up the project to make sure at least 80 million liters of water a day would be available in 2021 for areas serviced by Manila Water.

“We thank the decisive leadership of MWSS for the approval of the project, and assure them of our commitment to help in solving the current water crisis,” said Razon, chairman of Prime Infra.

“Our project is one of the fastest and most sustainable ways to solve this current water crisis.  If we don’t act now, this will be a recurring problem,” he said.

The project will tap water from the Wawa dam in Rizal province to add supply to Manila Water’s concession areas. Up to 500 million liters a day are expected to be added to the supply by 2025.  It will raise Manila Water’s supply by 30 percent.

Wawa dam was the primary water source of Metro Manila before Angat dam was built.

The Razon-led venture is prepared to invest up to PhP 20 billion for the project to ensure water-supply security over the medium- and long-term.

SLRB President & CEO, Anthony Jude C. Violago thanked the MWSS, Manila Water and Razon for hammering out a “win-win formula” to the much-delayed project.

The project had been in the works for 20 years, including two years of joint development work between Razon and Violago.

He added that this major undertaking is the culmination of his father’s grand plans.

“After 20 years, my father’s vision will finally come to fruition. Water will now flow to Metro Manila residents, solving the current water problems,” he said.

MWSS Chairman Franklin J. Demonteverde and MWSS Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco announced the agency’s approval of the joint venture on May 23. The approval was made in two separate board meetings on May 9 and 22.

The MWSS and the Office of the Government Corporate Council are finalizing the remaining issues on the project.

“We look forward to finalizing the remaining issues on the on-going review of the OGCC and the MWSS-Regulatory Office to accelerate project execution, considering the criticality of delivering the much-needed water supply in the east zone,” said Guillaume Lucci, Prime Infra president and COO.

Velasco said that securing water supply is one of the cornerstones of his administration, and the Wawa bulk water supply project is a critical and an integral part of the vision.  

“It is among the priority initiatives committed to President Rodrigo Duterte in addressing the current water supply deficit which government resources cannot afford, and this is the reason why a private sector-led development of bulk supply of water was sought,” Velasco said in a statement.

The tariff impact of the Wawa bulk water supply project is expected to be very minimal since the total systems cost of the project will be cost-effective compared to other water source options because of the strategic location of the water supply source within the east zone concession.

Behold God’s glory and seek His mercy.

Pause and pray, people.