Bayan Muna slams Manila Water for new wave of water service interruptions
MANILA, Philippines – Party-list group Bayan Muna has slammed Manila Water for another wave of water service interruptions affecting establishments and households in the east concession zone.
Bayan Muna chair Neri Colmenares and Rep. Carlos Zarate said Wednesday they have received reports that several areas in Mandaluyong are without water for six days now.
“Based on a Manila Water advisory issued last night, Barangka Drive and Barangka Ibaba (should) have water between 5 a.m. and 2 p.m,” Colmenares said. “But residents say that their water hasn’t returned since it was cut at 3 p.m. last Thursday.”
Zarate warned Manila Water that they may file a new complaint against the water concessionaire to seek further rebates.
“We will definitely file another complaint against Manila Water for more rebates for their customers,” Zarate said in a statement.
In March, Bayan Muna and other concerned citizens filed a petition before the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System – Regulatory Office (MWSS-RO) to impose penalties against the water concessionaire.
The petitioners also sought damages from Manila Water since they had to purchase containers to store water.
Chief Regulator Patrick Ty then advised the groups to take the matter to the courts because the MWSS-RO does not have a quasi-judicial function.
The MWSS decided to impose a P1.13 billion fine against Manila Water — P500 million of which will be given back to customers in the form of rebates. Starting June, P2,197.94 will be subtracted to the monthly bill of households with no water for seven or more days on a 24-hour basis.
The minimum charge for the first 10 cubic meters would also be waived. This is apart from Manila Water’s voluntary waiver made last March.
Early this week, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) said water rationing may be a possibility once water levels at the Angat Dam — Manila’s primary water source — breach the 160-meter mark. As of Monday, the elevation is at 162.39 meters.
Still, Zarate and Colmenares lamented Manila Water’s service.
“In Barangay Plainview, water supply had been erratic since Friday, but now they have no water since 1 p.m. yesterday, and [they] only had access to water for 2 hours from 4 a.m. to around 6 a.m. then water was cut off again,” Colmenares noted.
“In Manila Water’s latest advisory, they said that the water interruption would be just for 12 hours, but Mandaluyong residents have already been experiencing 12 hours of water interruption since March and now in some areas 6 days straight of no water. This is simply horrendous service,” he added.
Zarate said the situation could worsen unless the government acts, specifically, against privatization of utility companies.
“There is no water security, and this will get worse unless the government acts now. We have always asserted that privatization is wrong. We must abandon privatization and government should take over these water utilities to ensure not just water security but also transparency and accountability,” he explained. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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