P495 million ‘Yolanda’ housing water project to start December

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TACLOBAN CITY — The Leyte Metropolitan Water District (LMWD) is eyeing to award the contract of the nearly PHP495-million water project for post-“Yolanda” resettlement sites in the northern part of the city by the end of this year.

Assessment is ongoing for the two firms that joined the bid opening on Oct. 30 to find out if they can carry out out the long-term water project, LMWD information officer Ma. Teresa Pascua said in a mobile phone interview Thursday.

The two bidders are the Cebu-based Mactan Rock Industries, Inc. and the Pangasinan-based TGV Builders, Inc. The two developers entered a joint venture to implement the much-awaited project.

“If they qualify, we hope to issue the notice to proceed before the end of 2018. The target is to complete the project by December 2019,” Pascua said.

The project includes two areas. The first one is the PHP404.8-million project to extend water distribution pipes, develop two new sources in the city’s northern villages, set up and repair old pumping stations, set up a new reservoir, and rehabilitate the existing reservoir.

The other phase is the PHP90-million project intended to rehabilitate the city’s water pipes. “If we will be able to replace old pipes and stop systems losses, it will increase water pressure to the northern area,” Pascua added.

Earlier, the Local Water Utilities Authority (LWUA) agreed to delegate its authority to implement the project to the LMWD after failure of biddings early this year. LWUA, a state-run corporation based in Quezon City, has no office in the provinces.

The LWUA and LMWD signed a memorandum of agreement for the transfer of funds in response to the request of the city government to pass the responsibility of supervising the project from the national government to the local water district.

Pascua is optimistic that the water supply project would be fast-tracked as concerned agencies signed a memorandum of agreement in 2016 to help carry out the long-term water supply project.

Signatories were key officials of LWUA, National Housing Authority, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), LMWD, and Tacloban’s city government, identifying and delineating the roles of each agency.

During the 3rd commemoration of Super Typhoon Yolanda on Nov. 8, 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte directed concerned national government officials to do everything they can to provide water for relocation sites.

As a short-term solution, the LMWD, DPWH, and city government have been delivering water to resettlement sites.

The government aims to move 14,000 families from danger zones to the resettlement sites. Thousands of housing units have been awarded, butsome families have refused to stay in the relocation sites due towater supply problems. (PNA)