The day Zobel subdivisions went dry



Waterless Sunday. Father Mike de la Guardia noted many vacant seats during his homily on Sunday when he said the Mass at Don Bosco Parish Church at Santa Rosa City. Since it has been raining hard that Sunday morning, he said probably the bad weather prevented many parishioners, who usually attend the 8:30 a.m. Mass, from leaving home.

Then Father Mike continued his homily suggesting that following God, as was the theme of that Sunday’s reading, had no condition. Those who attentively listened to him must have understood well his message but knew the reason for the vacant pews.

Father Mike was right. There were many vacant seats at the Don Bosco Church on Sunday, even if some of them have been filled up by late comers.

Had the good priest heard some parishioners present during his homily who looked at each other and murmured “walang tubig” (no water), he would have understood the absence of many and the tardiness of some for the 8:30 a.m. Mass.

Ayala in Laguna. Manila Water Co. Inc. and Ayala Land Inc. (ALI), which both belong to the Ayala group controlled by the Zobel family, continue to keep postponing their plans to form a joint venture company (JVC) to consolidate ALI’s water services in Santa Rosa City.

As early as April 2010, Manila Water and ALI entered into an agreement to consolidate the latter’s water services in Santa Rosa City, specifically those at Nuvali and subdivisions developed by ALI through its own subsidiaries.

As earlier planned, Manila Water and ALI would infuse P82 million and P18 million, respectively, in the yet-to-be-formed JVC. In addition, ALI would invest P59 million in “right/lease to internal and external water systems,” apparently referring to the latter’s existing infrastructure.

Promising H2O venture. Why would ALI and Manila Water push through with the formation of a joint venture company, when even without it they both contribute to the consolidated revenues and net profits of Ayala Corp.?

In the last two years until the first quarter of this year, Manila Water has been profitable. In the first three months of 2013, Laguna AAA Water Corp. (LWC), a Manila Water subsidiary, reported revenues that surged 52.658 percent to P53.902 million from P35.309 million.

Last year, LWC’s revenues soared 97.916 percent to P190 million from P96 million in 2011, resulting in net income which more than doubled to P57 million from P21 million.

These profits show Manila Water’s operation in the three Laguna municipalities—Santa Rosa is a city—has already been paying off despite the continued postponement of the consolidation of water services of the Ayala group’s projects in Santa Rosa City.

Model project. But the consolidation of the Ayala group’s water services in Laguna should be implemented. In case of inefficiency, it would easier to find where the fault lies and identify those responsible for the failure or failures of services.

Besides, Manila Water’s water projects at Santa Rosa City, Canlubang and Biñan would showcase the company’s ability to provide potable water not only to the three municipalities in Laguna, but to the rest of the province.

As Manila Water’s franchise areas expand, the company’s revenues and profits would naturally increase. In turn, Manila Water, being a listed and public company, would make its stockholders’ happy because more profits would mean more dividends.

As of March 31, 2013, Manila Water had P21.87 billion in retained earnings of which it had appropriated P7 billion for ongoing and future projects.

The contributions of Santa Rosa City, Biñan and Canlubang may not be considered very significant now. But the future of Manila Water’s operation in Laguna looks more promising.

Correcting inefficiency. Latest undisclosed information showed Manila Water and ALI may finally proceed with the establishment of a joint venture company to take over the latter’s water services, not only at Nuvali, but more importantly in the growing communities at Santa Rosa Estates 1, 1A, 2 and Santa Rosa Village.

Incidentally, water services in these subdivisions developed by Ayala Land, are operated and managed also by Zobel-owned companies. As such, consolidating them would make it easier for Manila Water and ALI’s co-owned company to manage and monitor profitability.

Perhaps, putting these entities under one roof co-owned by Manila Water and ALI would also improve efficiency, which has been lacking lately because last Sunday, the homeowners at Santa Rosa Estates 1, 1A and 2 were awakened by heavy rains falling on the roofs of their houses but none coming out of their faucets.

The Zobel-anointed field personnel first blamed the Manila Electric Co., when there was no brown out the whole day of Saturday until Sunday and even the following Monday, only to say later on that their aging pumps were broken.


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1 Comment

  1. Dominic Albert on

    MANILA WATER is VERY PROFITABLE because they PASS ON to customers all their taxes and expenses !