By Walter J. Laurel, General Manager, PPCWD
On the 5th of August 2023, the Puerto Princesa City Water District celebrated its 47th anniversary. The water district has come a long way since its inception when it was issued a Certificate of Conditional Conformance by the Local Water Utilities Administration. Like all water districts in the country, it has gone through several challenges in its mandate of providing water and sanitation services in its service area. The former being more of a primal need takes priority while the latter takes a backseat. Due to a lack of funding support both from the local and national government, the Puerto Princesa City Water District was not able to take off in the next few years after its creation. Its service coverage is very negligible with intermittent water supply.
It was able to take a loan from the Local Water Utilities Administration in the early 80s to finance its expansion program but due to management issues and low water tariff, it has defaulted in the payment of its loans resulting in partial take-over by the Local Water Utilities Administration. As a result of the partial takeover, the loan was restructured for long-term payment while the policy-making and management aspect of the operation was also administered by LWUA through an interim General Manager and 6th member of the Board of Directors.
Manned with a dedicated workforce with a sense of ownership and dedication, slowly, the Puerto Princesa City Water District was able to turn things around and started to earn profit and pay off its liabilities. It was during the time of my predecessor, GM Antonio Jesus R. Romasanta, that the Puerto Princesa City Water District was able to progress by leaps and bounds. The Campo Uno and Montible projects both implemented through a loan from government and private banks are the catalyst of progress for the PPCWD. With assured water supply even during the summer season, the PPCWD aggressively expands its service area and offers its water supply services to the unserved areas in the City. From more than 12,000 connections when he took the helm in 2005, GM Tony Romasanta left the PPCWD in 2020 with a service connection of more than 50,000. The increase in the number of connections being served carries with it the need to hire additional manpower thereby generating employment in the locality, at present, the PPCWD is being manned by a workforce of 406 employees.
Taking a cue from our Chairman of the Board, Atty. Winston Gonzales that “success is not permanent”, the management should be ready and proactive in terms of meeting the current and future demand for water and sanitation services in the City. The gargantuan task of being a step ahead in terms of meeting the ever-increasing demand for water in the City while also implementing projects that will take care of the wastewater so that it will not harm the environment is not an easy task, it requires constant collaboration among the employees and dedication to assigned tasks. Development should not only be limited to the infrastructure but also the human resource that is at the heart of our operation. With a dedicated workforce and a very supportive Board of Directors, Puerto Princesa City Water District will continue to shine and be a beacon of success for locally-run water utilities in the country.