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AMID WATER SHORTAGE IN METRO MANILA, NEARBY PROVINCES

Poe: Manila Water has a lot of explaining to do

By: - Reporter / @DYGalvezINQ
/ 03:41 PM March 14, 2019
Poe: Manila Water has a lot of explaining to do

WAIT YOUR TURN Fights among people waiting in line, a Mandaluyong resident says, are common. They argue over who is first in line and how many containers one can fill up. —Joan Bondoc

MANILA, Philippines — The Manila Water Co., which provides water service for east zone dwellers of Metro Manila and nearby provinces, has a lot of explaining to do amid the prolonged utility disruption.

Senator Grace Poe said Thursday that the Senate committee on public services, which she chairs, has already invited Manila Water officials to appear during the panel’s investigation on the prevailing water shortage affecting thousands of people, which starts next week.

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Among those invited to attend the hearing on Tuesday are Manila Water’s chief operating officer Geodino Carpio and communications head Jeric Sevilla Jr.

“Malaki ang dapat i-eksplika ng Manila Water dito sa krisis na ito. Three weeks ago, walang abiso at hindi ramdam na magkukulang ang tubig. Tapos bigla na lang magigising ka na wala na? Tama ba naman ‘yon?” Poe said in a radio interview.

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Manila Water customers have been experiencing water service interruptions since March 8, with the water company citing the low water level in La Mesa Dam as the reason.

READ: La Mesa Dam breaches critical mark, hits 21-year low

But Poe pointed out how all of a sudden half of Metro Manila are faced with water shortage when Angat Dam, which supplies more than 90 percent of the National Capital Region’s water, is still at normal levels.

She noted that as of 6 a.m. Thursday, the water level at Angat Dam was at 199.63 meters, which is still far from the 180-meter critical mark.

“May tubig pa ang Angat Dam kaya nga ang western part na sineserbisyuhan ng Maynilad ay may tubig pa. Ang problema ‘yung conveyance kung saan dadaloy ang tubig,” the senator said.

“Alam naman natin pagdating ng Marso, may El Niño man o wala, talagang madalang ang ulan… Hindi ba nila naisip na dadami ang tao? Andiyan naman ang tubig eh. ‘Yun ay imprastraktura na pananagutan ng Manila Water. ‘Yun siguro ang ating iimbestigahan at tatanungin,” she added.

Poe then mentioned Manila Water’s water treatment plant project in Cardona, Rizal, which would have helped address water demand problems.

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Other resource persons invited to the Senate panel’s hearing are Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) administrator Jeci Lapus, National Water Resources Board (NWRB) executive director Sevillo David Jr., Pagasa administrator Vicente Malano, and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) administrator Reynaldo Velasco and regulatory office head Patrick Ty.

West zone water concessionaire Maynilad Water Services Inc. was also invited.  /kga

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