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Bayan to stage protest vs Manila Water as water shortage continues

/ 04:32 PM March 14, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) will stage a protest against  Manila Water as  parts of Metro Manila and Rizal province continue to be affected by water supply shortage.

In a statement, Bayan  said that the protest will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, in front of the Manila Water office along Katipunan Avenue in Balara, Quezon City.

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The protest, Bayan said, will highlight the government’s alleged use of the water shortage issue to justify ‘destructive projects’ allegedly being funded by China, such as the Kaliwa Dam.

“The March 15 Black Friday protests will be against the corporate greed of Manila Water which has caused the current water crisis in Metro Manila. It will also assail the government’s opportunistic use of the crisis to justify destructive projects such as the Kaliwa Dam,” Bayan said in a statement on Thursday.

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“The national government meanwhile has taken advantage of the crisis to push for the construction of the China-funded Kaliwa Dam.  It has absolved Manila Water of any liability. It has not investigated Manila Water’s gross failures. It has not reviewed and rescinded the rate hike granted to Manila Water,” they added.

According to Bayan, Manila Water’s additional earnings through rate hikes and other foreign ventures are in contrast to its alleged inefficient service.

“Manila Water earned a whopping P6.5 billion in 2018 and another P6.5 billion in 2017.  It was even granted a rate hike of P6.50 per cubic meter spread over 5 years. It has expanded its operations overseas to include Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam,” Bayan noted.

“Yet it has failed to provide the necessary facilities to meet the demands in its concession area in Metro Manila,” they added.

Manila Water previously told authorities that water delivery operations may normalize only by August, as the water level at the La Mesa Dam continues to drop. Earlier, officials reported that the dam’s water level has breached the 68.74 meter mark, the lowest in 21 years.

READ: Metro water supply shortage until August feared

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

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Meanwhile, Bayan said Manila Water and not the El Niño weather phenomenon should be blamed for the water service interruptions. Manila Water, it said, was unable to adapt to the demands of an expanding customer base.

“The claim that El Nino is to blame for the crisis has been exposed as a big fat lie. Manila Water has been expanding its customer base even if current facilities are unable to meet the growing demand. It is Manila Water’s obligation to provide the needs of its customers. It has failed to do so,” the group explained.

“The people demand accountability for the crisis. The people demand placing consumer interests ahead of profit-making,” they said.  /muf

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TAGS: “Black Friday” protest, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Bayan, Manila Water, Philippine news updates, water interruption, water shortage
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