Government told to nix privatization of water services
MANILA, Philippines – Party-list group Bayan Muna on Sunday slammed water concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad anew over “massive water service interruptions” in Metro Manila and nearby provinces and called for the “renationalization” of water services.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate asked the government to ditch the privatization of water services, adding that water security “will get worse unless the government acts now.”
“There is no water security under privatization 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,” Zarate said amid the recent water interruptions due to declining water levels in Angat Dam.
“Up till now we are receiving reports that in some barangays in Mandaluyong, they are getting two hour worth of weak water supply after a week of not having water at all,” said Zarate.
“We will definitely file another complaint against Manila Water for more rebates for their customers if this continues,” he added.
Likewise, Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares blasted both Manila Water and Maynilad for collecting fees from consumers since 2012 which were supposed to be used for future projects.
Despite these collections, Colmenares noted that “nothing was done.”
Colmenares added that the water concessionaires failed to coordinate with the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and the National Water Resource Board (NWRB) ahead of time to discuss means to mitigate the possible effects of El Nino to the water supply.
“Malinaw naman na nape-predict ang El Nino at taon pa ang layo ay alam na nating mangyayari ito pero walang ginawa ang Manila Water at Maynilad para magawan ng paraan na maibsan ang magiging kakulangan sa tubig,” Colmenares said.
NWRB on Saturday further reduced water allocation for the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and its concessionaires as the water level at Angat Dam hit critical level.
Patrick James Dizon, division manager of MWSS, attributed the continued dip in water level in Angat Dam to lack of rainfall due to a weak El Niño. /gsg
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