ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 22 April) – The PrimeWater Infrastructure Corporation (PIC), owned by the family of former Senator Manny Villar and one of the country’s premier specialist water utility companies, is pouring in P742 million in investments at the Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority and Freeport (Zamboecozone).
Zamboecozone chairman and administrator Christopher Lawrence Arnuco and PIC president and director Michael Regino signed on Monday a lease agreement for the construction of a water treatment facility and bulk water supply project at the ecozone’s highlands.
The PIC, under the lease agreement, will occupy 50 hectares inside the Zamboecozone at Sitio Anuling, Barangay Pamucutan, where they will construct the treatment facility and bulk water supply project.
The water treatment facility, once operational, will supply water to the Zamboanga City Water District (ZCWD) for distribution to the water concessionaires in this city’s west coast, particularly in the Ayala District.
The PIC and ZCWD have signed an agreement earlier this month stipulating that the latter will purchase from the former 30,000 cubic meters of water every day for the first two years and 50,000 cu.m. for the succeeding year.
Arnuco said that the PIC will also supply 15,000 cu.m. daily to the Zamboecozone and Freeport, which at present has 15 locators.
The construction of the treatment facility will reportedly commence not later than July 15 this year and will be completed within a year’s time.
The construction phase of the facility is expected to generate hundreds of jobs for residents in Pamucutan and nearby areas and an average 15 committed employment every year for its 30-year project life.
Arnuco said that part of the agreement is the forest protection component of PIC’s 50-hectare expanse and the outlying areas.
“Most of the 50-hectare leased space will be used for water retentions and forest protection,” Arnuco said.
He said the entry of PIC is a welcome development for Zamboecozone in terms of employment generation aside from attracting investments into this city.
Former Senator Manuel Villar said he is happy to note that the business climate in the city remains robust despite the siege by members of the Moro National Liberation Front in September last year.
“Malaking kawalan sa mga investors na hindi alam kung gaano kaganda dito sa Zamboanga. Talagang bustling ang commerce dito. Marami sa mga taga Manila ang hindi nakakakita, hindi nakaka-intindi at hindi na-appreciate ang ekomoniya ng Zamboanga,” Villar said
“For investors to skip Zamboanga City is their loss. Their loss is my son’s gain,” he added. Villar represented his son Paolo, who heads PrimeWater, as witness in the signing of the lease agreement. The other witnesses in the signing were First District Rep. Celso Lobregat, Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar and other ZCWD and Zamboecozone officials.
The PIC is the second Villar-owned firm that poured investment in this city. The first was the Golden Haven Memorial Park in Barangay Divisoria.