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Congress eyes investigation on water crisis

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, 15 March 2019 10:46 AM

The Senate and House of Representatives called on the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), Maynilad, Manila Water, and the National Water Regulatory Board to explain the water service interruptions experienced in Metro Manila.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III has already filed a resolution to immediately resolve the issue. He said that thousands of families are already affected by the lack of water supply. This also includes schools, hospitals and business establishments.

Sotto, in a statement, warned that the country might face worse consequences if the problem is not resolved.

“If left unresolved, the water crisis may bring more serious problems to the people and businesses in the affected areas, and may impact the country as a whole,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Lower House also filed a separate resolution calling for an investigation on the water shortage.

1-Pacman partylist representative Mikee Romero calls on Malacañang to certify the Department of Disaster Resilience Bill as urgent to expedite the government’s response to different kinds of calamities and crises.

Under the said proposed law, the Department of Disaster Resilience Bill will focus on issues about disaster and climate change preparedness, prevention, mitigation, response, recovery, and rehabilitation.

Romero said it can also cover the effects of El Niño in the country.

“I hope HB 8165 can be certified as urgent so the new Department of Disaster Resilience can take the lead on addressing the water crisis aggravated by the ongoing El Nino drought,” he said. —Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Grace Casin)

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Senate, House to thresh out rift on 2019 budget

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, 21 March 2019 09:55 PM

The members of the Senate Committee on Finance and its counterpart in the House of Representatives will hold a meeting on Monday (March 25) to iron out their disagreements on the 2019 Proposed National Budget.

This, after the House retrieved the enrolled version of the budget from the Senate.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III believes this is a good indication to thresh out the issue on the budget.

“I’m glad that they have retrieved it. There is a possibility that we can bring it back to the original state of the budget when we ratified it,” Sotto added.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rolando Andaya Jr, however, clarified that the physical retrieval of the enrolled budget doesn’t necessarily mean that they have wavered from their earlier stand.

“We maintain that the House did nothing unconstitutional, illegal or irregular when we approved and ratified the 2019 GAB in plenary session,” stressed Andaya.

It can be recalled that Senator Panfilo Lacson has alleged that the House leadership has realigned around 95-Billion pesos from the 37-Trillion-peso 2019 budget which was purportedly given to several members of the House.

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said that the falling out between the Senate and the House on the proposed budget has left a snag on the implementation of their infrastructure projects.

Anna Mae Lamentillo, the Head of the Build, Build, Build Committee of the DPWH, said that despite this setback, the department is doing its best to make sure that the implementation of the projects that are already funded will not be affected by the budget problem. – Maris Federez

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MWSS assures no repeat of metro-wide water interruption

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, 20 March 2019 04:19 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte admonished the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, and water concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad upon meeting with them on Tuesday night (March 19).

The President reportedly didn’t even bother to hear any of their defense on the water shortage.

In a statement, Malacañang said the Chief Executive issued a stern warning of removing MWSS from their posts and terminating the contracts of the two water concessionaires if their services will not improve.

“The Chief Executive bluntly told them to ‘shape up or ship out’!” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco assured they have already laid out plans to prevent having a repeat of the water interruption in Metro Manila.

“If I cannot do it, I will resign immediately,” Velasco added.

Velasco also admitted that the Chief Executive’s directive issued last week had been a big help for them to immediately resolve the water outage in the east zone of Metro Manila.

The official, meanwhile, denied allegations that the water shortage is just artificial and made-up to justify the construction of the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project.

Velasco said, “Hindi sila pwedeng magmoro-moro sa amin. Pag moro-moro insult sa aming intelligence.We are on top of the situation. Di pwedeng mag-arte-arte yang mga water concessionaires (They cannot not play us for fools. It will be an insult to our intelligence. We are on top of the situation. These concessionaires should stop acting up).”

Meanwhile, the MWSS expects that the delivery of water supply will go back to normal in Metro Manila come April, except for some barangays in elevated areas.

Still, the MWSS assures these barangays of sufficient water supply.

“That’s not a problem because we have 150 fleets of water tanks,” Velasco added.

Meanwhile, Manila Water Spokesperson Jeric Sevilla said in a statement that they are “focused now on exerting all efforts to bring water service availability back to normal levels at the earliest possible time.” Maris Federez

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Duterte tells MWSS, water concessionaires: ‘Shape up or ship out!’

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, 20 March 2019 10:05 AM

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday (March 19) scolded the executives of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and the two water concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad for “not doing their job” that resulted in a metro-wide water shortage.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Chief Executive vented out his anger on concerned officials and told them to “shape up or ship out!”

“In a stern message delivered without even once looking at the officials, the obviously outraged President threatened to fire the MWSS officials and terminate the concessionaires’ contracts,” Panelo said.

The meeting, which Panelo described as a ‘presidential monologue’, lasted for 40 minutes.

The President ended his tirade by ordering the officials to submit a report on the water shortage before April 7.

“After which he will decide whether heads will roll or whether the contracts of the concessionaires will be terminated,” Panelo concluded.

For more than a week, residents of Metro Manila and Rizal suffered water shortage prompting the administration to direct water authorities to release 150 days-worth of water from Angat Dam to supply affected areas.

The Upper and Lower Houses of Congress conducted their respective hearings on the matter which called for penalties against Manila Water for violating the concession agreement and the resignation of concerned officials over mismanagement, incompetence and negligence. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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