Solon: MWSS getting at least P1B from Manila Water, Maynilad yearly
MANILA, Philippines — The budget of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) should come from the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA) instead of coming from the water concessionaires, House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said Wednesday.
The Quezon 3rd District congressman said that the operational expenses of MWSS are being paid by the Manila Water Company, Inc. and the Maynilad Water Services, Inc.
“We had been suggesting that MWSS budget should come from the GAA… [Because] the regulator is being paid by the regulatee [sic],” Suarez said during the House public accounts committee hearing which he chairs.
“We’re not saying na nagkakaroon ng bias dito sa arrangement na ito. Pero para mawala na ‘yung maybe, MWSS is soft on their stance dahil ‘yung kanilang nire-regulate ‘yun ang nag papasweldo sa kanila,” he added.
Maynilad chief operating officer Randolph Estrellado said Maynilad and Manila Water are paying P400 million each in concession fees yearly to fund MWSS’ operating expenses. Manila Water President Ferdinand Dela Cruz said that due to inflation, they recently paid P522 million each for concession fees.
“Nagbabayad ho kami ng concession fees sa MWSS. Sa pagkakaintindi ko ho parte nun pambayad sa utang at parte is ‘yung cost of operations ng MWSS so dun ho nanggagaling lahat ng gastusin nila,” Estrellado said.
MWSS Deputy Administrator Moro Lazo also said the fees coming from the two water firms form part of their general fund for salaries.
New water sources
Aside from this, Suarez also backed the Sumag river diversion project and Kanan river bulk water proposal as new water sources amid the water crisis. The lawmaker said local private partnerships are better than the China-funded Kaliwa dam.
“Now, we have a private sector who is saying we can do the same with even better services and features. Hindi gagastos ang gobyerno, kikita pa ang gobyerno,” he said.
“So why are we going to compete with the private sector just because we have an offer form the Chinese that they’re willing to lend you money?” he added.
Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza meanwhile said construction of more wastewater treatment plants and facilities should be prioritized.
“It is the only solution,” he said. /jpv
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