Lawmakers want congressional review on Manila Water’s service hitch
MANILA, Philippines — Opposition lawmakers have called for a congressional review on the impact of sudden water interruption in parts of the National Capital Region, Rizal, and Cavite since last week.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate filed House Resolution No. 2518 on Tuesday but a copy of the document was released to the media on Wednesday. He specifically asked the House committee on good government and public accountability to conduct a hearing into the issue.
Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano also filed a similar resolution on Wednesday — House Resolution No. 2520.
Alejano pointed out that “guaranteeing the steady and stable supply of clean water for the whole country is part of the government’s responsibility to promote the general welfare and protect the right to health of our people.”
On March 8, the Manila Water Co. announced on its website that it would be “implementing operational adjustments that may affect water service across the entire East Zone,” Zarate noted in his resolution.
However, even other areas not included in the published Manila Water’s list were also affected on the night of March 8 based on media reports, he added.
Manila Water further said it would “help arrest the rapid decline of the water level at La Mesa Dam,” following the announcement of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pag-asa) about the onset of El Niño.
But Zarate pointed out that according to Pag-asa, the “El Nino phenomenon is predictable and measures can be done to prepare for it, but it seems that the water concessionaires did not do so.”
“Meanwhile, the National Water Resources Board (NRWB) and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) said there is no problem in water supply,” the lawmaker added.
Many residents in various areas were left with no choice but to wait for water tankers or open fire hydrants for water amid prolonged water service interruptions since March 8, according to Zarate.
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Daily household chores, schools, hospitals, as well as businesses, have also been affected by Manila Water’s service cutoffs.
Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Rep. Jericho Nograles, meanwhile, pointed out that Manila Water’s “lack of foresight and mismanagement,” not El Niño, caused the water shortage.
“The water interruptions are localized within the concession areas of Manila Water. This is simply mismanagement. Manila Water should be truthful to the public instead of blaming Mother Nature for their negligence,” Nograles said in a statement.
For his part, Senior Deputy Minority Leader and Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said he would file a bill that would require all building owners, both private and government, as well as households around the country to provide their own rainwater catchment facilities.
“We now need to take seriously the threat of a water-less Philippines or face the dire consequences…,” Atienza said.
“Now that we are once again facing the real danger of losing our water supply, we should and we must start saving water and promote the more prudent use of one of our country’s most valuable resources,” he added. /kga
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