noted in its latest audit observations that five Pampanga water districts have been steadily losing huge sums of money in recent years.
The COA said this unfortunate development reportedly cropped up ever since they permitted a private company – PrimeWater Infrastructure Corporation – to take over their respective operations.
COA investigators said the income streams of the Mabalacat City Water District (MCWD), the City of San Fernando Water District (CSFWD), Floridablanca Water District, Guagua Water District and Lubao Water District had declined hugely upon the entry of PrimeWater.
The COA claimed that the concerned water districts were earning substantially more money prior to the joint venture agreements (JVA) they inked with PrimeWater.
The five water districts were then advised by COA to renegotiate their respective JVAs to address their deteriorating profit picture and correct provisions that are proving to be disadvantageous to them.
A good example of these income dives uncovered by COA was with regard to the Mabalacat City and City of San Fernando water districts.
According to COA data, MCWD’s net income was P61.2 million prior to PrimeWater’s takeover in 2018. This income figure plunged further to P35.3 million in 2019 after Primewater got operational control of the entity. And in 2020, MCWD’s net income sank to an abysmal P4.7 million.
The COA said it was also quite questionable that the CSFWD suffered a net loss of P48.6 million when PrimeWater assumed control in 2017, as against P15.144 million to P33.774 million net income from the years 2013-2016.
One senator who asked not to be quoted said the observations leveled by COA auditors appear to be “ominous” in view of the fact that PrimeWater, which is allegedly owned and controlled by two billionaires, has already seized control of dozens of water districts all over the country.
According to figures from the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), PrimeWater has taken over more than 100 water districts, and discussions for more acquisitions are on-going.