Angat Dam water level continues to drop

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 24, 2019   •   185

The water level at Angat Dam continues to drop from 186.23 meters on Wednesday (October 23) to 185.87m as of 6:00 a.m. on Thursday (October 24).

READ: NWRB to reduce water allocation for irrigation in Bulacan, Pampanga

Due to this, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) is aiming to cut water allocations. According to NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David Jr., they want to manage the water supply in case the water level will not reach 212 meters by the end of the year.

“In order to manage iyong supply ngayon just in case na hindi ganoon ka-favorable iyong mga rainfall na darating sa Angat watershed (In order to manage the current supply in case there will be no favorable rainfall at Angat watershed),” he said.

According to PAGASA, rainfalls are still expected in Angat Dam area before the end of the year.

“Pagpasok ng November may mga dalawang bagyo tayong inaasahan diyan (By November, we are expecting two more typhoons),” weather specialist Edgar dela Cruz said.

The NWRB said they plan to conduct cloud seeding operation but that will only slightly increase the water level at Angat Dam.

Meanwhile, the NWRB will launch a campaign for responsible water consumption by November.—AAC (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

DOJ denies conflict of interest in review of water concession deals

Robie de Guzman   •   December 12, 2019

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra

MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday denied allegations of conflict of interest in the ongoing review of the water concession deal between the government of Maynilad and Manila Water.

The allegations surfaced following news reports that Justice Undersecretary Emmeline Aglipay-Villar was part of the team that reviewed the water supply agreements.

Aglipay-Villar is the wife of Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, whose family owns the Prime Water Infrastructure Corporation, one of the utility firms that may possibly become a player to replace Maynilad and Manila Water when their contract ends in 2022.

Guevarra said he does not know where these kinds of allegations came from. He also said that he led the review of water deals.

“Siyempre as SOJ, ako ang head ng review team at ginagamit ko diyan, nag-assist ng review, naturally legal staff ng DOJ. Sa office ng state counsel so sila ang nag-review niyan with the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel. So, yung units na yun, nagkataon lang under the supervision ni Usec. Emmeline Villar kasi may mga distribution ng work ng ng mga usecs ng DOJ,” he told reporters in an event in Manila Thursday morning.

Guevarra said the DOJ team found onerous provisions in the contracts signed in 1997 and recommended its removal as well as the crafting of new deal that would be advantageous to the public.

“Believe me when I say that any good lawyer will see the inequitable provisions in the water concession agreements, and the fact the Usec. Emmeline Villar is part of the DOJ review team is totally irrelevant,” he said.

Aglipay-Villar, a former congresswoman, also denied the allegations, adding that the DOJ conducted a disinterested review of the concession agreements.  – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Duterte paving the way for allies into the water industry? Nonsense! – Malacañang

Marje Pelayo   •   December 12, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang vehemently denied alleged reason behind President Rodrigo Duterte’s rants against water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water.

Reports alleged that the Chief Executive is making a move to place his allies into the water industry.

“That’s nonsense. Si Presidente pa, walang ally-ally kay Presidente (That’s nonsense. Knowing the President, he doesn’t care for allies),” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

The President earlier warned to file charges of economic sabotage against the two firms and their cohorts who were behind what he calls as onerous water concession agreements.

Such was his reaction after the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore favored the water concessionaires against the government, ordering it to pay billions for not approving water rate increase under the previous administration.

The Palace scrutinized what seemed to be ‘unfair’ provisions of the water concession agreement including allegations that the government was giving the water concessionaires a cold shoulder and the intent to extend the agreement up to 2037 even prior to the contract’s expiration.

Malacañang opened the idea of a possible government take over only to ensure that water distribution service would not be cut in case none in the private sector intends to handle it.

“Initially government muna then most likely after that there will be biddings for a private company to take over,” Panelo said.

It was in 1997 when the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) signed water concession contracts with Manila Water Services Inc. and Maynilad.

It was a decision made after the government-owned facility delivered poor services and only a few investors were willing to invest their billions in improving the facility’s services which, Manila Water and Maynilad accepted through a bidding. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

MWSS cancels extension of Manila Water, Maynilad water concession deal

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 11, 2019

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) has revoked the extension of the government’s water concession agreement with the Manila Water and Maynilad.

MWSS Deputy Administrator for Engineering, Leonor Cleofas confirmed that they revoked the board resolution extending the water concession agreement of Maynilad and Manila Water until 2037.

The MWSS said this was prompted by the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte due to the “onerous” provisions in the said water concession agreement.

“It was on the agenda that the board tackles the resolution on the approval of the extension of the concession agreement. That was brought about by the directive of the President tackled in the Cabinet meeting… they are now revoking the board resolution adopted in 2008,” Cleofas said.

Cleofas made the confirmation on Wednesday’s (Dec. 11) joint hearing of the House Committee on Good Governance and Public Accountability and on Public Accounts.

With this move by the MWSS, the concession agreement with Maynilad and Manila Water to service Metro Manila and parts of Luzon will expire in 2022.—AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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