Vol. XXII, No. 184 [ BusinessWorld Online]
Wednesday, April 22, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES
A 25-YEAR contract to operate Boracay island’s water and wastewater facilities was formally handed to the Ayala-led Manila Water Co. yesterday, with the Tourism department confident the public-private joint venture would be replicated in other key tourist spots in the country.
With the new joint venture taking over the island’s water utility, state-led Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) no longer has to shell out P40 million in yearly subsidies and can now use the amount for other investments, Tourism chief Joseph H. Durano said.
Manila Water owns 80% of the joint venture. The concession agreement grants Manila Water — which supplies water to eastern Metro Manila — a 25-year exclusive right, renewable for another 25 years, to service the waterworks and sewerage needs of Boracay island.
"We are quite confident that Manila Water will be able to replicate the vast improvements it had made in the east zone of Metro Manila and Rizal Province [in] Boracay Island," said Virgilio C. Rivera, Jr., Manila Water Group director for regulation and corporate development.
Mr. Rivera said the project would generate an initial 500 to 1,000 new jobs in civil works, which would be the project’s focus for the first 24 months.
Manila Water will invest about P1.2 billion in the joint venture, which will start operations in June.
Bohol and Palawan are among tourist areas where a similar partnership could be forged, following the government’s guidelines for joint ventures with private companies, Mr. Durano said. — J.B.F. Santos