Better Place Like Home For Charity
by Teodoro M. Reynoso
Photos by Rey Vida
Alitagtag Water District was transformed by its Lady General
you wanted something to be discussed and debated upon, give it
to the men. If you wanted something done, give it to the women.
Britains famous former Iron Lady Prime Minister Margaret
Thatcher was quoted as saying something to this effect in one
of her speeches during her long tenure as head of government and
state of one of the worlds enduring and strongest democracies
and ertswhile global super power. Thatcher also gained fame for
her decisive leadership especially during Britains war against
the macho-dominated military junta-ruled Argentina over the Falklands
in the early 80s.
subject of this story is not a strong-willed woman who could summon
a nations resources and rally its people to a higher cause
The subject of this story is a simple, sweet, graciously-aging
little lady whose looks hide her strong will and strong sense
of purpose and one who would rather use patience, persistence,
charm and the wisdom culled from long years of experience to transform
a small water district to the best that it can possibly be so
that it could contribute in making a comparatively lesser-known
Batangas town a better place to live in and be proud of.
She is none other than incumbent Alitagtag Water District (AWD)
general manager Charity Renegado, a BS Commerce Major in Accounting
graduate who fortuitously had her initiations in the challenging
and intricate business of selling water as employee of the giant
Davao City Water District down Philippine South for ten years.
Her story is pivotal in the latter-day development and transformation
of Alitagtag Water District from once a literally small water
utility operating from a make-shift tin-roofed and tin-walled
office that looked more like a food stall that dispensed
intermittent water supply service about 700 odd service connections
in the early 90s to a still small ( officially size category-
speaking) water district that today transacts its businesses from
a rented air-conditioned office building ( plans are afoot for
the construction of its own office building ) and providing reliable
round-the-clock potable piped water service to more than 3,000
domestic and commercial concessionaires in practically the entire
WD's main office
Renegado was on her second year as Commerce student at UE Manila
when her father was assigned as City Engineer of Davao City in
the early 70s. She went on to continue her college education at
the University of Mindanao graduating with a Bachelors of Science
degree in Commerce, Major in Accounting.
Almost immediately after graduation, Charity got hired as an accounting
clerk at the Davao City Water District, among the first and the
biggest water districts to be established by the Local Water Utilities
Administration (LWUA) with the promulgation of the Provincial
Water Utilities Act of 1973, better known as Presidential Decree
No. 198, as amended. It was in Davao that Charity met her husband,
Felimon Renegado with whom she had four children, now all professionals.
She worked for DCWD for ten years from 1976 to 1986 learning some
of the ropes in water district management and operation, up close
and personal under then DCWD pioneering chairman Ranulfo Rabanal
and affable general manager Iluminado Luming Quinto.
In 1990, at the end of her fathers stint as Davao City Engineer,
Charity returned with her children to Alitagtag. Shortly after,
she was offered and convinced by the AWDs then womens
sector representative in the board, Mrs. Felisa Adajar, to accept
the position as bookkeeper in the water district in view of her
previous extensive experience with the DCWD.
Coming from a big water district as Davao, Charity initially was
disheartened by the then sorry physical state of the Alitagtag
Water District which was established just two years back in 1988
with Atty. Petronio Bunggo as its first general manager.
But Charity realized that it was also an opportune time for somebody
like her to immediately make an impact to a fledgling water district
as AWD which at the time of her arrival in 1990 was also just
beginning to take off operationally with just partial water service
of 12 hours on ration basis in view of its limited source and
Charity showing off one of the district's pumping station
facilities to LWUA personnel
at that time, the AWD water system and its limited reach and capability
was hardly Charitys main concern being an accountant and
bookkeeper..Seeing that the AWD had but crude accounting system
in place, Charity immediately requested LWUA for the installation
of the Commercial Practices System (CPS) to put order to the water
districts accounting and finances, especially billing and
The period between 1990 and 1997 when Atty. Bunggo vacated the
general managership of AWD was also a time of mixed frustrations
and mixed opportunities personally by Charity. She saw how the
water district passed up on some opportunities for improvement
of its system and operations. Like the offers of financial assistance
from JICA and LWUA which went by due to the reluctance of the
AWD management and board.
Shortly after she was appointed general manager, Charity had the
chance of attending a seminar in Baguio City sponsored by LWUA
wherein she spoke her mind on the travails of a small, struggling
water districts like the AWD. Luckily, she caught the fancy and
attention of LWUA manager Engr. Oscar Jusi who assisted and interceded
on her behalf for the grant of a P1/5 million LWUA loan for the
development of a new well source to augment the water districts
then just sole well source. Unfortunately, the well development
project proved unproductive and GM Charity had had to plead with
LWUA that the AWD just repay part of the amount already released
by LWUA for the failed project.
The following year, 1998, GM Charity took advantage of an opportunity
to ventilate the water districts problems with then newly-designated
LWUA Administrator Prudencio M. Reyes who was also taken by her
sincere show of concern and endearing straight-forwardness.
From such simple encounter and meeting of minds was sown the seed
of future plans for the improvement and development of the AWD
Forthrightly, then LWUA administrator Reyes approved a P1 million
grant for the AWD for the conduct of a water resource study courtesy
of the LWUA SWECO then under Dr. Bruno Haman which resulted in
the coming up of a comprehensive Water Resources Assessment and
Development for Alitagtag Water District covering the period 2000-2030.
To this day, GM Charity proudly looks back to that singular achievement
no other water district has achieved since. Showing us a copy
of the voluminous book containing the detailed studies and plans
for the long term development of water resources of the town,
GM Charity said she learned recently that similar assessment study
for the entire province of Cavite cost the provincial government
more than P30 million.
With a very reliable water resources development plan at her disposal,
GM Charity then proceeded to embark on the more systematic development,
improvement and expansion of the AWD water facilities with the
technical and financial assistance of LWUA.
In 2001, with fresh loan from LWUA and the balance of the earlier
loan from the unsuccessful well development project in 1997, the
AWD was able to this time successfully develop the Muzon well
and pumping station which housed the water districts largest
water pump to date.
In 2005, AWD became a recipient of loan from the KFW project package
in the amount of P20 million which resulted to the development
of three additional wells, total rehabilitation of the pipelines
in the then existing service area covering nine barangays and
expansion of transmission lines to four more barangays including
some sitios. However, the transfer of the existing service connections
to the new pipelines were not completed on account of fund insufficiency.
In 2009, LWUA approved an NLIF loan amounting to P25 million for
AWD of which more than P20 million was actually released and used
in completing the total transfer of the existing service connections
to the new system and the expansion of the system to two more
barangays and some sitios.
The AWD water system at present covers and provides 24/7 potable
water service to practically the entire town of Alitagtag including
three barangays that had previously de-annexed and have returned
to the system. AWD service lines extend to the border of Bauan
town and even transcend to adjacent bordering barangays of Cuenca,
San Pascual and San Felipe towns.
But GM Charity is not one who would hog all the credit to herself.
She is also very acknowledging of the support and assistance as
well as contributions especially of LWUA field personnel who have
been assigned to assist the AWD institutionally and technically.
Like LWUA resident engineer Lito Lumbera, a Lipa City native and
still current resident who has been highly instrumental in the
successful implementation of the water districts source development
and system improvement and expansion projects since 2001. Without
an engineer in her current staff, GM Charity highly depends on
Engr.Lumbera and puts her full trust and confidence on his advise
on technical matters involving the development and operations
of the AWD.
On the institutional development and management sides of running
the affairs of the AWD, GM Charity has come to rely and put her
full trust and confidence on the advise and recommendations of
a succession of LWUA management advisors, most especially her
now long-time Management Advisor, Ms. Ruby Quinitio who like her,
a small but terrible person who is sincere, hard-working
and has only what is good and better for the AWD at heart.
town's municipal building
Charity is also ably assisted by her dependable section chiefs,
Ms. Nenita Adan who is handling the water districts administrative
and financial operations, including billing and collection and
Alex Cuya who is taking care of AWD construction, production and
maintenance requirements. AWD billing and collection is now fully
computerized and that with just 17 employees including job orders,
AWD has among the highest connection to employee ratio of 120
connections per employee.
Of course, GM Charity never fails to attribute the water districts
current state of development to a succession of personalities
that made up the AWD Board of Directors since the water districts
formative years. Most especially, he acknowledged the trust reposed
upon her by former Director Felisa Adajar who was the one who
recruited her to join the fledgling AWD in 1990 and the AWD Board
of Directors who gave offered her the general managership of AWD
in 1997 and consistently supported her in the transformation of
the water district from 2001 todate.
present AWD Board is composed of Francisco M. Tubo ( Education
), Chairman; Norma R. Castillo ( Womens) ), Gener H. Marasigan
( Business ), Atty. Rodolfo D. Amurao ( Professional ) and Anastacio
H. Hernandez (Civic) . One who is not apt to lift her won chair,
GM Charity said that at times, a lady manager has an advantage
because while both male and female managers can be decisive, aggressive,
straight-forward, motivated, persistent and patient, only lady
managers can be more humble enough to show willingness to learn
and to ask for assistance. And use her appeal and charm, if needed.
Very Charity indeed.