Customers irked over late water interruption advisory from Manila Water and Maynilad

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 19, 2019   •   2496

Customers of water concessionaires, Manila Water and Maynilad complained about the late posting of water interruption schedules.

Manila Water posted its advisory around 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday. However, several residents said they already lost water supply by 5:00 p.m.

One of the residents, Tessie Olmos, said she was surprised about the water interruption and hence was not able to store water at home.

“Hindi man lang sinabi, nag-abiso kung mawawalan o hindi kaya nagulat na lang kami nang bandang hapon na wala ng tubig. Hindi man lang kami nakapag-ipon (There was no advisory so we were surprised that there was no more water. We were not able to store water),” she said.

Another resident, Rey Tayag, said there was an advisory but it was already late.

Meanwhile, Maynilad posted its advisory on Facebook at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday (June 19). The post read that there will be water interruption in several areas at 1:00 p.m.

Customers complained in the comment section saying there was not enough time for them to store enough water.

According to the water concessionaire, they are working on fixing the water interruption schedule. They also call on the public to understand the situation because there are a lot of things to consider to satisfy the need for water supply amid the limited resources.

“Short notice din naman iyong nangyari. After the technical working group meeting kahapon and after the press briefing, that was the only time na sinabi na there’s going to be a reduction. There was very little time for us to really list all the barangay and come up with a schedule (What happened was also at short notice. After the technical working group meeting yesterday, and after the press briefing, that was the only time it was reported that there’s going to be a reduction),” according to Manila Water spokesperson Jeric Sevilla Jr.

According to Maynilad’s Corporate Communications head, Jennifer Rufo, they need time to analyze the impact of their distribution system.

“As it was announced the implementation was already being done that let us a little bit of time to analyze kung ano iyong magiging impact sa aming distribution system (what will be the impact of our distribution system),” she said.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) will investigate the complaints about the water interruption schedule of both Maynilad and Manila Water.—AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

Villar denies family is interested in taking over Metro Manila water distribution

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 22, 2020

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar has denied allegations that his family has interest in taking over the water distribution sector in Metro Manila.

When asked during a press briefing at Malacañang, Villar responded, “No.”

“I’m not in any position to answers questions regarding those I have no involvement,” he added.

Villar’s family owns the PrimeWater Infrastructure Corporation, which provides water supply in several provinces.

President Rodrigo Duterte has warned Maynilad and Manila Water that he would revoke the present water contracts if they refuse to agree with the new terms presented by the government.

Duterte offers new concession deals to Maynilad, Manila Water

Robie de Guzman   •   January 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has offered water companies, Maynilad and Manila Water, new concession deals that will replace existing agreements with provisions that are allegedly disadvantageous to the government and the public, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president made the offer after the Department of Justice and Office of the Solicitor General presented the new contracts during their Cabinet meeting on Monday night.

Panelo said the new concession contracts do not contain the supposedly onerous provisions in the existing contracts which were signed in 1997.

“The Chief executive is giving the water concessionaires the option of accepting the new contracts without any guarantee of not being criminally prosecuted together with those who conspired to craft the very onerous contracts which are void ab initio for violating the constitution and the laws of the land,” he told reporters at a Palace briefing.

Should Maynilad and Manila Water refuse to accept the new contracts, Panelo said Duterte will order the cancellation of their current concession deals, and prosecute all those behind the crafting of the 1997 water agreement.

He would also order for the nationalization of water services in their respective areas of operation.

“Should Maynilad and Manila Water refuse to accept the new agreements, the Chief Executive will order the cancellation of their present water contracts, mandate the nationalization of water services in their respective areas of operation and prosecute all those involved, directly or indirectly, in the arrangement that led to the present suffering of the Filipino people,” Panelo said.

In a statement, Maynilad said it has yet to receive a copy of the revised agreement. It also gave reassurance of continuing cooperation amid its contract woes.

Manila Water has yet to issue a statement on the matter.

Duterte did not provide a deadline to the water concessionaires about his offer.

The water firms’ woes came after Duterte assailed the two Metro Manila water concessionaires for allegedly taking advantage of the ‘onerous, lopsided’ contracts to “milk” Filipinos by the billions.

The chief executive earlier threatened to file economic sabotage raps against the water concessionaires and other officials involved in the crafting of the deals following the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore’s order to pay Manila Water P7.4 billion, and Maynilad P3.6 billion about two years ago as compensation for losses or damages.

The two water firms separately took the government to court after the MWSS rejected their respective petitions to raise water rates a few years ago. The firms cited its concession deal which prohibits the government from setting water rates, and pushes for indemnification for possible losses in the event of such government interference.

But the two firms in December said they will no longer pursue the awards, and assured cooperation as the present government reviews the provisions in the agreements. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Consumer group hopes water concession agreement issue won’t end in lawsuit

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 3, 2020

Laban Konsyumer Inc. hopes that the water concession agreement issue won’t end in lawsuit.

The consumer group said that water distribution might be affected if President Rodrigo Duterte will push through with his threat to file a lawsuit against the water concessionaires.

According to the president of Laban Konsyumer Inc., Victor Dimagiba, it would be better if the issue will be settled through a negotiation to avoid customer inconvenience.

“Hopefully, hindi na tayo mapupunta sa husgado (hopefully we won’t have to go to court), mas lalong hindi maganda ang mangyayari (things might get worse) as far as services to the consumers are concerned,” he said.

Dimagiba also said a sufficient evidence would be needed in case there will be no renegotiation and the issue will go to court.

“Kailangan may element na malinaw na niloko tayo at more than P50 million ang halaga. So iyon ang threshold na kailangan mong i-prove, (There should be a clear element that there was a fraud worth more than P50 million. So that is the threshold to be proven),” he said.

President Duterte previously warned he would put the owners of the water concessionaires in jail for economic sabotage.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)


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