MANILA, Philippines — The ban on water service disconnection for areas under a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) has been extended until the said quarantine classification ends, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System Regulatory Office (MWSS-RO) said.
MWSS Chief Regulator Patrick Ty said in a statement Monday that MWSS-RO has directed water concessionaires Manila Water Company, Inc. and Maynilad Water Services, Inc. “to extend their suspension of all service disconnection activities” until the MECQ status has been revoked.
The ban on water disconnection operations took effect when several areas being served by the concessionaires — like Metro Manila, Cavite, and Rizal — were placed under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) bubble amid the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in these areas.
“This is to inform the public that the MWSS Regulatory Office (RO) has directed Manila Water Company, Inc. and Maynilad Water Services, Inc., to extend their suspension of all service disconnection activities (whether temporary or permanent) until such time that the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) has been lifted,” Ty said in the statement.
The MWSS-RO chief also said that water companies must provide continuous water supply especially amid the pandemic, where washing of hands and other sanitation requirements are indispensable.
“(Concessionaires must) provide an uninterrupted 24-hour water supply in their Service Areas. This is to ensure that all customers receive clean and adequate water supply for their health and sanitation requirements, especially during this difficult time of [the] pandemic,” Ty said.
“Moreover, the MWSS RO requests for the continued cooperation and assistance of concerned Local Government Units (LGUs), as the Concessionaires conduct their meter reading and billing activities during the period of MECQ,” he added.
As of April 12, areas in the so-called NCR Plus bubble – Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Cavite, and Laguna which were on ECQ during the last two weeks – are under a little lenient lockdown, MECQ, even if COVID-19 cases continue to increase in this region. The government opted for MECQ so the ailing Philippine economy could open a bit more. The MECQ will be in effect over the NCR Plus bubble until April 30.
Last month, the Commission on Human Rights called on the government to ensure people’s unhampered access to clean water as MWSS-RO admitted that the law allows concessionaires to start cutting water services under a general community quarantine.
Water service disconnection activities were however stopped once the ECQ status was declared in the NCR Plus bubble.