Wednesday, July 18, 2018
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Ayala seeks shorter downtime for Boracay

The Ayala group is working with regulators to shorten the planned “closure” of Boracay Island to less than the announced six months, even as it expects a deep cut in revenues for its affiliate there.

Boracay Island Water Co. Inc. projects a reduction in billed water by as much as 70 percent, which represents the company’s sales attributed to visitors in the tourist haven.

Ferdinand dela Cruz, president and chief executive of parent firm Manila Water Co. Inc., said yesterday that even if the government imposed a total ban on tourists, this would not mean zero billed water for Boracay Water.

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Boracay Water runs a joint venture with the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza), through subsidiary Manila Water Philippine Ventures.

“What we are trying to do now is work with all the national agencies and the local units there including the business establishments so that we could shorten the closure,” he added. “We are encouraged by the pronouncements of [Tourism] Secretary (Wanda) Teo that it might just be four months.”

Boracay Water, which chalked up P600 million in revenues in 2017, accounts for about 2 percent of Manila Water’s consolidated business, according to chief finance officer Luis Juan B. Oreta. The concession with the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System represents 85 percent of Manila Water’s business.

Dela Cruz said that while Boracay Water has enough capacity to treat wastewater produced by its customers, the company is faced with the problem of some parties “illegally connecting” to Boracay Water’s sewerage network.

“The current issue pertains to a number of [customers] illegally dumping their sewage in the drainage and some illegally connecting to our sewer network,” he said.

In 2017, Boracay Water saw a 13-percent growth in billed volume, which reached 5.5 million cubic meters, mainly driven by tourist arrivals. Last year, the company treated 2.5 million cubic meters of used water.

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