Feature: Basilan ISAWAD, refilled and flowing, marks 20 years of service
Isabela City, Basilan (4 September) -- The Isabela City Water District (ISAWAD) celebrated its 20TH Founding Anniversary this year with the theme: ISAWAD on its 20TH Year: Sustaining the Momentum along with the inauguration of its recent development, the ISAWAD Balanban Campsite.
Dry Out Times
The ISAWAD faced its most trying times in the half a decade that passed. In the year 2001, it has experienced an almost downfall with barely P24,000 in the bank, receivables from concessionaires amounting to a whopping P 10,302,236.89 with a meager 35% collection efficiency, low water pressure, high NRW, poor water services, and dwindling employee morale notwithstanding the unpaid debt service to LWUA, unpaid contributions to GSIS, HDMF, and other creditors. The cash flow disarray is a manifestation of basic financial strain rooted from mismanagement and thereby resulting to inefficient service delivery and reduced water system development.
Most of the city and its water concessionaires were, however, unaware of this parched scenario of the district. With all these seemingly unsurpassable challenges and without concrete plans of how to deal with the situation, a miracle, though not necessarily real, was almost certainly the fervent hope held on to.
A management take-over with an urgent agenda of revitalizing the district's dehydrating state occurred on June of 2002. The current General Manager Aleli C. Almodovar saw then the immediate problem of the agency and carried on an analysis-solution; an Albert Einstein frame of mind: To solve a problem, have a solution mindset, not a problem mindset.
Under the new management, GM Almodovar instigated stewardship of the water district foremost at aligning the direction of ISAWAD back on course. She generated the backs of both the Board of Directors and its employees to carry out its mission to deliver only the best service to its concessionaires and contribute to the development of Isabela City. Equipped with vital knowledge and experiences in troubleshooting water districts, forceful managerial skills and knack for entrepreneurship, resourcefulness and creativity, she cultivated the potentials of everyone to work their finest for the water district and eventually bringing out the potential of the agency to be competent and at par with others in their field.
The Board of Directors (BOD) under the leadership of Dr. Francisco G. Pioquinto imparted watertight support and valuable inspiration to the management and staff. Likewise, the employees' cooperation and dedication during the take-over period operated a significant element in bringing out the best of what the district has to offer.
With very limited resources, raising revenues was a major priority. Enforcement of policies was made stringent; disconnection of lines, apprehension of illegal connections, and collection of dues executed rigorously. Even the employees worked overtime without pay in order to achieve the management target of correcting the operations system deficiencies then.
Drips of Success
Over the last five years, the water agency has continuously posted remarkable improvements in its finances. These are results of tight financial controls, including aggressive and improved collection efficiency.
The collection efficiency improved from 68% in 2001 to 93% in 2006; non-revenue water rate has decreased to 51% in 2006 from 60% in 2001 and accounts receivables from customers reduced to roughly 5-million in 2006 from 10-million in 2001. Aside from these financial accomplishments was an increase in water production brought about by a number of operational improvement and facility development projects undertaken. In addition, the employees were also paid in accordance to salary standards, and benefits were duly given to the staff; something they were quite deprived of in a number of years.
Eventually, all the hard work has paid what is due; rise in terms of financial and water production.
Stream of Prospects
And on the occasion of its 20 years in service, it was even more a valuable cause for celebration as ISAWAD marked its successful rise from depths of failure that a lot of Isabeleņos were oblivious of. But for the people working within and for the district, the years that passed were filled with uncertainties, instability, and hopelessness. Yet, notwithstanding the difficulties and problems faced, the lessons learned were significant and encouraging, and thus becoming the motivation of ISAWAD to do better and to move further.
Today, ISAWAD continuously explores its resources and facilities to innovate. The successes posted by the district during the last five years should not leave anyone into thinking the years ahead would be less difficult. However, with the policy makers, the management and the employees working cohesively, the future of having potable and safe water in every barangay in the year 2010 would be within reach.
ISAWAD has 19 more barangays to fill water with, and that means more potential customers and better prospects for income generation. But more importantly, this signifies more prospects for public service; that is water service. After all, water is for everyone, as water is life. (ISAWAD/PIA-BASULTA) [top]