Creation of Department of Water urged amid water woes in Metro Manila

Robie de Guzman   •   June 26, 2019   •   1049

MANILA, Philippines – Lawmakers on Tuesday pushed anew for the creation of a department that will solely address the country’s water woes amid a supply crisis being experienced in Metro Manila and nearby towns.

During an oversight hearing in the House of Representatives, several lawmakers raised their concerns over the persistent water troubles, which began in March this year and continued through the peak of the dry season.

Solons believe it is high time for the country to have a Department of Water to correctly manage its abundant supply of fresh water and resolve the water crisis.

“Importante talaga na magkaroon tayo ng isang sistema ng pamamalakad ng tubig dito… Ito ay long overdue na na kailangan ng Pilipinas dahil nakikita natin ang mismanagement ng tubig,” said Bulacan Representative Jonathan Sy-Alvarado.

He cited the amount of water being released from dams when rains brought by a tropical cyclone fill up dams to spilling level when it could have been stored in a different reservoir, which may be accessed by water concessionaires during the dry season.

The conduct of the hearing comes amid rapidly declining water level in Angat dam that left the metropolis parched despite the onset of the rainy season.

Attending the inquiry were representatives from concessionaires, Manila Water Co. Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc., Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), National Water Resources Board (NWRB), Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).

During the hearing, the LWUA also suggested asking for the help of local water districts in distributing supply to areas affected by the water shortage.

“We can ask them (water districts) to help share their water resources although the problem maybe is how to transport the water,” said Jeci Lapus, LWUA acting administrator.

Concessionaires, Manila Water and Maynilad, both agreed with Lapus’ proposal.

“We support the plan to give us more water,” said Ferdinand de la Cruz, president of Manila Water.

“Sa Maynilad po we also welcome the offer of administrator Jeci Lapus,” said Ramoncito Fernandez, who heads Maynilad.

The water level at Angat Dam has continued to dip, hitting 158.77 meters as of 6 a.m. Tuesday (June 25).

The dropping water elevation at Angat Dam has prompted water concessionaires to implement rotational service interruptions.

Aside from the creation of the Department of Water, suggestions on storing rainwater and recycling of wastewater used in water-intensive facilities were also discussed during the House inquiry.

Malacañang, for its part, said it is open to any proposal seeking to address the country’s water troubles.

“Pinag-aaralan lahat ng pwedeng gawin to solve water problem,” Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters at a Palace press briefing.

Meanwhile, the Makabayan bloc reiterated its earlier demand to hold the water concessionaires accountable for the water shortage being felt in Metro Manila.

It also renewed its call for the government to take over these water utilities to ensure water security, transparency, and accountability. (with details from Grace Casin)

Alamin ang deadline sa pagbabayad ng ‘ECQ Bills’

Marje Pelayo   •   June 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Unti-unti nang bumabalik ang operasyon ng mga negosyo at balik trabaho na rin ang karamihang manggagawa matapos ang ilang buwang pagkatigil ng paggawa dahil sa pandemya ng coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Subalit ang kinakaharap naman ngayon ng publiko ay ang kabi-kabilang bayarin sa tubig, kuryente, lisensya at iba nang hindi maputulan o mapatawan ng penalty. 

Hindi kailangang mag-alala dahil nagbigay ng palugit ang mga utility company at ahensya ng gobyerno para sa pagbabayad ng tinatawag na ‘ECQ bills’ o ang mga bayarin sa panahon ng enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Sa mga lifeline customer o mga kumukonsumo ng 10 cubic pababa, nagabiso ang Maynilad at Manila Water na maaring mabayaran ang bills hanggang August 31.

Ang non-lifeline customers naman o ang mga kmukonsumo ng mas mataas sa 10 cubic meters ay maari pang magbayad hanggang July 31.

Ang mga customer naman ng Meralco ay makatatanggap ng dalawang bill ngayong buwan: isang installment payment plan bill na naglalaman ng kunsumo sa panahon ng ECQ at ang regular na buwanang bill.

Kung ang konsumo ay 200 kilowatt hour pababa, maaring bayaran o hulugan ng hanggang anim na buwan ang ECQ bill simula June 15. 

Kung ang konsumo naman ay 201 kilowatt hour pataas ay maaring mabayaran ang ECQ bill hanggang apat na buwan. 

Samantala, sa mga nag-file ng 2019 income tax return (ITR) ay maaring makapagbayad hanggang June 15 lamang.

Paliwanag ng Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), kailangan ng pamahalaan ng pondo upang tustusan ang mga programa nito kontra COVID-19 kaya hindi na ito magbibigay ng palugit.

Ang mga naipong renta naman, maging commercial o residential, ay maaring hulugan sa loob ng anim na buwan base sa inilabas na guidelines ng Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Sa mga may lisensya at rehistro ng sasakyan na na-expire sa panahon ng ECQ, maaring mag-renew hanggang August 3 ng walang babayarang penalty, ayon sa paalala ng Land Transportation Office (LTO).

Image may contain: text that says 'ANNOUNCEMENT LTO has EXTENDED THE VALIDITY OF DRIVER'S LICENSES that expired during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to TWO MONTHS or 60 DAYS upon the lifting of the restrictions @DOTrPH @DOTrPH www.dotr.gov.ph'

Pinapayuhan lamang ang publiko na gawing online ang transaksyon nang hindi na magtungo pang personal sa mga opisina at makaiwas sa pagkahawa sa COVID-19. MNP (sa ulat ni Rey Pelayo)

MWSS, nagtakda na ng deadline sa pagbabayad ng water bill

Robie de Guzman   •   May 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Nagtakda na ng deadline ang Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) para sa pagbabayad ng water bills na halos tatlong buwang naipon dahil sa ipinatutupad na community quarantine.

Sa panayam ng UNTV program na Serbisyong Bayanihan ngayong Miyerkules, sinabi ni MWSS Chief Regulator Patrick Ty na mayroong hanggang Hulyo 31 para magbayad ng bill ang mga kumukonsumo ng 10 cubic meters pababa kada buwan.

Ang mga gumagamit naman ng tubig na mahigit sa 10 cubic meters kada buwan ay may palugit hanggang Agosto 31.

Pagpapauna ni Ty, asahan na ng mga consumer ang bahagyang pagtaas ng bill lalo’t panahon ngayon ng tag-init at marami ang nasa loob ng kani-kanilang mga tahanan kaya mataas ang konsumo sa tubig.

“Sana maintindihan natin, itong water bill na ito halos lahat sa mga consumer ay ito po yung water bill nila for March, April and May. During summer season din po ito, so mas mainit, mas madami ang consumption ng mga tao at alam natin since work from home halos lahat consumer,” aniya.

Nilinaw naman  ng opisyal na puwede namang utay-utayin ng mga consumer ang pagbabayad sa bill nila sa Manila Water at Maynilad.

Sinabi rin ni Ty na sa Hunyo 1 pa magsisimulang magbasa ng metro at maglalabas ng bill ang Maynilad at Manila Water.

Sa Agosto 1 naman sisimulan ng dalawang water concessionaires ang pamumutol sa serbisyo ng mga hindi makapagbabayad ng kanilang bill para sa mga kumu-konsumo ng 10 cubic meters pababa.

Setyembre 1 naman ang schedule ng service disconnection para sa mahigit 10 cubic meters ang konsumo bawat buwan.

Tiniyak naman ng MWSS na wala pa silang ipinatutupad na anumang adjustment sa singil ng tubig sa gitna ng umiiral na community quarantine.

“Importante sa atin na wala pong bills shock ayaw po natin na magulat ang ating mga consumers na bigla nalang lalaki ang kanilang water bill,” ani Ty. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Joan Nano)

Typhoon Ambo adds 3 meters to Angat Dam’s reserve

Marje Pelayo   •   May 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The water level in Angat Dam has improved in the aftermath of Typhoon Ambo in Luzon.

According to the latest reading by the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the weather system has added 3.09 meters of water to Angat Dam’s reserve from 187.53 meters on May 15 to 190.62 meters on 6:00 am, Sunday (May 17).

Angat’s water level is now 10 meters over its normal operating level of 180 meters.

Last week, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) has increased domestic allocation to Metro Manila from Angat Dam to 48 cubic meters per second from 46 cubic meters per second to maintain enough supply on the duration of the government-imposed community quarantine in view of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis. –MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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