December 6, 2022

Baguio Water District officials asked the public to be vigilant and help stop the proliferation of water meter theft in the city.
BWD General Manager Salvador M. Royeca has expressed alarm over the series of water meter theft reported in the city in the previous months.
“While it is the district’s responsibility to provide adequate and potable water at affordable rates to its customers, it is hampered when felons steal or damage some of our facilities,” Royeca said.
The BWD received 32 reported cases of water meter pilfering from January to July in Balacbac (nine), Pinsao Proper (six), Country Club Village (one), Lexber Heights (five), Camp 7 (four), Gibraltar Road (four), and Outlook Drive (three).
From 2015 to present, BWD recorded 57 incidents of stolen water meters.
While the city has a low number of cases in contrast to other areas such as Metro Cebu Water District where it has reported more than 300 water meters stolen in just three months in 2005, the BWD needs to replace stolen water meters from its finances instead of allocating these funds for other more important water supply improvement projects.
The BWD has already requested the assistance of the Baguio City Police Office, barangay officials through the Liga ng mga Barangay-Baguio, and junkshop owners within Baguio and La Trinidad, Benguet to curb the incidents.
BWD customers are also encouraged to be extra mindful of their individual water meters, their meter’s location, safety, and security.
“We’ve already sent letters requesting assistance from the police, barangay officials, including junkshops since these felons usually dispose or sell the water meters as scrap for its bronze, or as surplus or second-hand items,” Royeca said.
He added BWD meters have a special marking that helps identify stolen water meters.
“Never buy used water meters. More often than not, these items are stolen,” Royeca said, adding trade of stolen water meter/s is punishable under Presidential Decree 1612 or the Anti-Fencing Law of 1979.
The Anti-Fencing Law defines fencing as the “act of any person who, with intent to gain for himself or for another shall buy, receive, possess, keep, acquire, conceal, sell or dispose of or shall buy and sell or in any manner deal in any article item object or anything of value which he knows or should be known to him to have been derived from the proceeds of the crime of robbery or theft.”
Moreover, the law provides that a fence includes any person, firm, association, corporation, or partnership or organization, which commits the act of fencing.
Royeca reminded customers to transact only with authorized BWD personnel. As a matter of standard procedures, the pull-out of water meters shall only be done by authorized BWD personnel upon presentation of an official BWD ID and upon acknowledgment of the customer or his/her authorized representative of the job order alongside the presentation of a properly filled out BWD Customer Investigation Report form.
To report unscrupulous person/s selling suspected stolen water meters or for further inquiries, contact the BWD 24/7 hotline numbers: 442-3218, 442-4929, 0908-865-1504, 0917-679-4929, and 0922-840-9765 or send a message through Facebook at BWD_Customer Relations or email [email protected] . – Mark Victor Pasagoy