Las Piñas stops BF Homes pipe-laying anew
By Jose Rodel Clapano (The Philippine Star) Updated February 01, 2010 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – The Las Piñas City government spokesman Vice Mayor Medina has ordered anew water firm Maynilad Water Services Inc. to suspend its pipe-laying activities in the Las Piñas side of BF Homes subdivision, raising howls of protest from angry residents.
After weeks of digging and installing main water pipes along major roads inside BF Homes, Maynilad stopped work upon orders of Vice Mayor Henry Medina, “pending clarification on the ownership status of these areas.”
Medina was apparently referring to the stretch of Palace street from Tropical Avenue to the Southland gate of BF Las Piñas; Moscow street from Tropical Ave. to the Mariposa gate, and Tropical Avenue from Palace Street to Pablo Roman.
Medina quoted Don Javier, vice president of developer BF Homes, Inc., as saying that these streets were “private properties of the Aguirre family and therefore not part of the BF Homes subdivision.” Businessman-sportsman Albert “Bobby” Aguirre is the reported owner of BFHI.
Medina said that according to Javier, those streets were merely “access roads” that the Aguirre family had allowed the public to use.
Residents of BF Homes expressed exasperation over the alleged flip-flopping of the city government of Las Pinas on the issue during a meeting of the presidents of the different homeowners associations in the Las Piñas side of BF Homes.
They vowed to troop to the office of Las Piñas Mayor Vergel Aguilar to demand a written permit for Maynilad contractors to resume the diggings.
In the same meeting, Renato Bernabe belied the claims of BFHI that the affected areas were the personal property of the Aguirres, and not part of the BF Homes subdivision.
Bernabe said it was his family who previously owned those properties, and sold the same to BFHI. He said it was his late mother, Lourdes Mayuga Bernabe, who acted as seller in the transaction.
Maynilad had earlier completed laying main water lines along El Grande, Tropical Ave. from Palace to Naga gate, Elizalde Ave. from Rafael Corpuz to Pablo Roman, and Concha Cruz from Elizalde to Alabang-Zapote, before stopping work on the said stretches of Palace, Tropical and Moscow streets.
For his part, Tony Tinsay of the United BF Homeowners Association, Inc. (UBFHAI) explained to the Las Piñas group that the city government had never issued a written permit for Maynilad, which was only able to commence pipe-laying work when Aguilar verbally told BFHI to allow Maynilad’s contractors to start digging.
Tinsay said the diggings stopped after Medina also verbally told Maynilad to put the pipe-laying works on the Las Piñas side on hold.
The water connections of households in areas that already have main pipes will also be put on hold, “pending clarification of the ownership status” of these areas.
Maynilad told directors of the UBFHAI that they cannot start going into residential enclaves which already have mainlines in place as they have to wait for clearance from the mayor’s office and the finalization of the “negotiations” between Maynilad and BF Homes.
BFHI tried a few months back to secure from Maynilad a P10 add-on per cubic meter of actual water consumption from the residents. The homeowners vehemently opposed the scheme, and Aguilar asked BFHI to allow Maynilad to commence work.
In that short span of time, Maynilad was able to install mainlines on some major avenues until the latest order to stop. “It would seem that connecting the BF Las Piñas homeowners to Maynilad will take a long time yet,” Tinsay said.
The affected homeowners expressed anger at the recent development.
“The whole of Parañaque and Muntinlupa portions of BF Homes will already be enjoying water supply while not one from the Las Pinas side is connected to Maynilad,” said Marilyn Custodio, president of Gardenhomes Rio, one of the affected enclaves.
Tinsay reported that as of Jan. 27, some 3,300 homes or one-third of BF Homes were already enjoying adequate, inexpensive and potable water supply from Maynilad.
Maynilad is aiming to complete the water connection of all 6,000 homes in the Paranaque and Muntinlupa portions of BF Homes by April 30.
“Unfortunately, the water connection plans for the Las Pinas portion of BF Homes are again in limbo,” Tinsay said.