Lacson: Fee collection for unfinished water facility ’highway robbery’
MANILA, Philippines — Collecting fees from consumers even before the construction of the Cardona water treatment plant in Rizal is tantamount to a “government-sanctioned highway robbery.”
Senator Panfilo Lacson said this on Tuesday during the hearing of the Senate committee on public services on water shortage, affecting parts of Metro Manila and Rizal province.
Lacson noted that Manila Water Co. has started collecting fees from its consumers even before the construction of the plant started in 2016.
“We started collecting on the Cardona plant in 2015 when the new rates were given to us,” Manila Water president Ferdinand dela Cruz said, responding to Lacson’s query.
“When did you start the construction of the Cardona treatment plant?” the senator asked.
“May 2016, after the approval of MWSS (Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System),” Dela Cruz said.
“So hindi pa nag-start ‘yung construction nagkokolekta na kayo?” Lacson asked again, to which Manila Water’s head answered yes.
Dela Cruz could not say, however, how much fees were being collected from their consumers for their facility.
Lacson then asked if it was possible to suspend the collection of fees, saying it was disadvantageous to the public.
“Parang it’s tantamount to a government-sanctioned highway-robbery e. Parang ganun ang dating. Why is that, Atty. Ty?” he said, directing his question to MWSS chief Patrick Ty.
Ty explained that the agreement involving the construction of the said facility was done in 1997.
“I heard in 1997, they need to sweeten this deal in order for investors to come in,” Ty said.
The Cardona plant is supposed to supply 100 million liters per day of water to Manila Water consumers. /je
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