Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) has the sole and exclusive right to regulate all utilities in Boracay and other tourist zones. This is after the September 5 ruling of the Office of the President (OP) affirmed the previous decision of the Department of Justice (DOJ). In effect, the decision denies the Motion of Reconsideration filed by the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) under OP Case No. 12-1-212.
“We welcome this decision as it finally resolves the issue on regulatory authority on water utilities in Boracay. It offers a good opportunity to promote sustainable tourism through effective management of utilities,” TIEZA Chief Operating Officer Pocholo Paragas said in a statement released on Friday. He added that this development will enable TIEZA to monitor and enforce standards of service of the two existing water concessionaires in Boracay and ensure compliance of environmental standards.
With DOJ decision affirmed, the TIEZA Regulatory Office is tasked to formulate customer service standards and policies applicable to all water service providers in the island. These standards and policies will cover regulation of water supply as well as wastewater or sewerage system.
On August 8, 2017, NWRB filed a Motion for Reconsideration with the Office of the President. The case (OSJ Case No. 04331-11) was filed in 2012 to settle the issue of the regulatory authority over all utilities, including waterworks and sewerage systems in Boracay and other tourism zones. However, since the impasse, the two water service providers (WSPs) in the island, Boracay Tubi System Inc. (BTSI) and Boracay Island Water Company Inc. (BIWC) have been separately supervised and regulated by NWRB and TIEZA, respectively.
Some legislators have expressed their serious concern on the confusion created when there was no single regulatory office in charge of the island’s utilities. In the Senate Hearing of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources last June 20, Chairperson Senator Villar reiterated the need to delineate the service areas for the two water WSPs. Senator Villar asserted that a single regulatory office is necessary to avoid confusion and improve the waste water management in the island.
COO Paragas is optimistic that they can work with the water concessionaries to pursue sustainable reforms that will ensure delivery of high quality of water standards for the tourists and residents in the island.