DILG tells LGUs to hasten processing of permits for water projects

Robie de Guzman   •   January 2, 2020   •   281

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday urged all local government units to hasten the processing of necessary permits for water-related projects in order “to expedite their completion and enhance water security.”

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said this is to help avert the possible water crisis that may hit parts of the country this year.

“Malaking perhuwisyo para sa ating mga kababayan kapag kulang o walang tubig. Kaya inaatasan ko ang ating mga LGUs na paspasan ang pagpoproseso ng mga kinakailangang permit para sa mga water projects upang maiwasan ang kakulangan sa tubig,”Año said in a statement.

In Memorandum Circular No. 2019-207, the DILG chief also called on local government officials to make the necessary preparations and extend support to start the water-related projects in their areas such as human resources, access roads to location, and availability of materials.

Section 17 of the Local Government Code mandates LGUs to exercise appropriate powers and discharge functions for the efficient and effective provision of basic services and facilities.

“Sa mga panahong ito na marami sa ating mga kababayan ang nakakaranas na ng kakulangan sa tubig, kailangan na nating magtulungan at mabilis na aksyunan na ng mga LGUs ang mga water permits para masimulan at matapos na ang mga water projects sa kanilang lugar,”he said.

In March last year, thousands of residents in Metro Manila experienced water crisis due to the drop in water levels at Angat Dam which supplies water to Metro Manila and Central Luzon areas.

Water levels in Angat Dam even reached the critical level of 160 meters despite the onset of the rainy season last year which prompted the further reduction of water allocation.

Angat Dam water levels have since improved due to rains brought about by recent typhoons entering the country but is still below the target normal operating level of 212 meters.

As of 6 a.m. January 2, Angat Dam’s water level is at 202.60 meters.

Kung hindi tayo kikilos ngayon, lalala pa ang problema natin sa tubig at tayo lang din ang mahihirapan sa bandang huli,” Año said.

Likewise, he encouraged the public to conserve water and to take measures in their respective communities to effectively manage water consumption.

“Magsilbing paalala sa atin lahat na hindi lamang nakasalalay sa gobyerno ang seguridad ng supply ng tubig. Responsibilidad ng bawat isa sa atin ang magtipid sa paggamit ng tubig,” he said.

House joint panel approves proposed Department of Water Resources bill

Robie de Guzman   •   November 13, 2019

Filipinos queue with their containers for a water ration at a residential district of Quezon City, east of Manila, Philippines. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA (FILE)

MANILA, Philippines – The House committees on government reorganization and on public highways on Tuesday jointly approved a consolidated bill seeking the creation of the Department of Water Resources Board (DWR) that will oversee policies on the country’s water supply.

The still unnumbered bill consolidated 35 House bills providing for the creation of the said agency.

Under the consolidated bill, the proposed Department of Water Resources will be the primary national agency to implement Presidential Decree No. 1067 or the Water Code of the Philippines, and Republic Act No. 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.

Its creation shall ensure that there is a government body responsible and accountable for all aspects of water resource management, including the development of dams and other infrastructure, the harvest of water, and the management of the waste water system.

“[Ang DWR] ang dapat sisihin kung may krisis sa susunod. Walang iba, wala kang ibang ituturo. Ang Department of Water na ito ang siyang responsible para resolbahin at maprevent ang water crisis,” said Albay Second District Rep. Joey Salceda, who sponsored the bill and authored one of the substituted measures.

The new department’s attached agencies will include the Metropolitan Waterworks Sewerage System, the Local Water Utilities Administration, the Laguna Lake Development Authority, the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, and the National Irrigation Administration.

The measure also provides for the creation of the Water Regulatory Commission, which shall serve as an independent body.

“‘Yung Department of Water essentially in charge of resource management. ‘Yung isa naman, economic regulation. Anong kaibahan? ‘Yung water resource management essentially paghahanap ng tubig, pagtransmit ng tubig. Pero pagdating sa epekto sa ekonomiya—halimbawa, sa presyo, sa taripa—’yan walang pakialam [ang DWR] except for siguro sa pagcharge ng fees for raw water pricing,” Salceda said.

Proponents of the bill said the measure is timely given the issues plaguing the water supply in Metro Manila.

It is also in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to lawmakers in his State of the Nation Address to create a water department to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Currently, the National Water Resources Board under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources oversees the country’s water resources.

Over 200,000 Maynilad customers to be without water supply for 10 days

Maris Federez   •   September 24, 2019

More than 200,000 Maynilad customers will be of no water supply for 10 days, beginning on September 27.

This will be due to the temporary suspension of operation of the Putatan Water Treatment Facility in Muntinlupa.

Maynilad Water Services Incorporated on Tuesday (September 24) said service improvement works are needed to be done in the plant to increase the amount of water the company supplies to its customers.

Maynilad Operations Head Ronald Padua said from the current 100-million liters per day (MLD) of water it produces from the Laguna Lake, the water concessionaire plans to upgrade it to 150-MLD.

The company believes the service improvement work which will take place from September 27 to October 7 will be a big help in preparing for any water supply crisis that might happen in the future.

“Para mangyari yun, kailangan namin i-shutdown po temporarily yung Putatan Plant 2 sa loob ng 10 araw. At inaasahan namin after that ay kaya na po naming i-operate ito at full capacity of 150 MLD,” explained Padua.

With this activity, customers from the cities of Paranaque, Las Pinas, and Muntinlupa, and several towns of Cavite.

“Lumalabas sa loob ng 10 araw dahil average 9 hours yung supply availability meaning po merong 15 hours na interrupted or wala silang tubig everyday,” Padua added.

Customers in these areas are advised to store water that will be enough to sustain them during the hours when the service interruption is in effect or there is no water supply.

Maynilad will post on its Facebook and Twitter accounts the affected barangays and the schedule of the water supply interruption.

Maynilad also made an assurance that its customers will not be charged for the service improvement expenses to be incurred in this project. (from the report of Joan Nano) /mbmf

Manila Water, Maynilad claim ‘force majeure’ over water woes

Robie de Guzman   •   June 26, 2019

Courtesy : Pexels

MANILA, Philippines – Concessionaires, Manila Water Co. Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc. have submitted a “notice of force majeure” to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) amid the worsening water shortage in Metro Manila.

MWSS chief regulator Patrick Ty said on Tuesday, the “force majeure” was filed by concessionaires as a defense to the water troubles being felt in the metropolis amid declining water level in Angat Dam.

The notice, under the concession agreement, exempts the contracting parties from fulfilling their contractual obligations for causes that could not be anticipated and/or are beyond their control.

It also suspends some portions of the utility firms’ service obligations for natural and unavoidable catastrophes that interrupt the expected course of events.

During the oversight hearing conducted by the House Committees on Metro Manila development, public works and highways and natural resources, Ty said the notice would be discussed and decided upon by the MWSS Board of Trustees on Wednesday.

“But we reiterated to them that they are not exempted from all obligations… We repeatedly told concessions to follow the requirement to provide notices to the public or else this could be a violation to the agreement,” Ty said.

“They have to make sure that the notices are correct and they keep their schedules, there’s also the issue of quality of water,” he added.

The MWSS in April imposed a P1.13 billion fine against the Manila Water for failing to meet service requirements. Half of the penalty was supposed to go to customers in refund.

READ: Manila Water slapped with P1-B fine for supply shortage

The sanction was on top of the voluntary full bill waiver imposed by the Manila Water in April, which it said earlier would cost the company nearly P500 million. (with details from Joan Nano)


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