Imee Marcos wants Manila Water, Maynilad held liable to service disruption

Robie de Guzman   •   October 24, 2019   •   645

Senator Imee Marcos (C)

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Imee Marcos on Thursday said that concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad should be held accountable for implementing rotational water service interruptions which are seen to inconvenience millions of its customers.

In a statement, Marcos said water concessionaires in Metro Manila should have implemented countermeasures to prevent water shortage amid declining water level at Angat and Ipo dams.

Marcos said this is not the first time that Metro Manila and nearby provinces have experienced water shortage this year, recalling the time when water concessionaires also implemented operational adjustments due to low water supply in March.

“Di ba nasabon at binalaan na sila ni Pangulong Duterte na ite-terminate ang concession agreements noong Marso dahil sa kapalpakan nila, pero ngayon wala pa rin silang solusyon sa problema sa tubig,” Marcos said in a statement.

Alam naman nila na may kakulangan sa suplay nito. Bakit ang mga tao ang babalikat ng sakripisyo,” she added.

She said the Senate could review the existing agreements between the concessionaires and the government.

Manila Water and Maynilad both announced earlier that they will implement daily rotational water service interruptions in several areas starting Oct. 24.

The water companies cited the declining water level in Angat dam and Ipo dams as the reason for the supply adjustment.

As of 6 a.m. Thursday, the water level in Angat Dam is at 185.87 meters while the Ipo dam is at 100.37 meters.

The dams’ water elevation has consistently declined in the past few weeks due to a lack of heavy rainfall that could raise its reserves.

Bill mandating employers to offer work from home set up filed in Senate

Robie de Guzman   •   June 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A bill seeking to make work from home arrangement a mandatory option offered to employees has been filed in the Senate.

In filing Senate Bill No. 1448, Senator Imee Marcos noted that alternative working arrangements are becoming a new normal in offices due to the continuing threat of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Marcos said her bill proposes to introduce amendments to the Republic Act 11165 or the Telecommuting Act to make working from home a mandatory option for employees whose physical presence in the workplace is not necessary for the completion of his or her job, and who have been in the company for at least a year.

“Should the physical presence of the employee be necessary for a particular task, the employer may require his/her attendance in the workplace, within office hours and during weekdays, but not more than twice a week,” Marcos said in her proposal.

Telecommuting is defined in the present law as a work arrangement that allows a worker to perform his or her tasks from an alternative workplace with the use of telecommunication and/or computer technologies.

“Various sectors, including the labor sector, have to make major modifications in their policy to ensure compliance with social distancing measures,” Marcos said in the explanatory note of the bill.

“This bill, this seeks to strengthen the Telecommuting Law by making it mandatory, and not merely optional, for employers to offer telecommuting as an alternative to employees whose physical presence in the workplace is not absolutely essential to the performance of their functions,” she added.

The measure also states that a contract of employment should clearly indicate the eligibility of a given position for telecommuting.

“Clearly, a ‘new normal’ of social distancing, new hygiene standards and limited physical contact shall prevail into the future,” Marcos said.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Telecommuting Act on December 20, 2018, after Senator Joel Villanueva pushed for its passage in the previous Congress.

Some senators opt out of COVID-19 testing

UNTV News   •   March 20, 2020

Senate of the Philippines facade

Although Senate Majority Leader Miguel Zubiri has announced he tested positive for COVID-19 despite being asymptomatic, some senators have opted not to undergo a COVID-19 test.

Senators Risa Hontiveros and Kiko Pangilinan have decided not to go through COVID-19 testing, saying they are not manifesting any symptoms and are strictly following protocols given by the DOH.

Some of their co-lawmakers have already taken the test including Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senators Grace Poe, Imee Marcos, Pia Cayetano, Ramon Revilla Jr., Francis Tolentino and the first two senators who initiated to undergo self-quarantine, Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Nancy Binay.

Senator Christoper Bong Go has also undergone COVID-19 testing with President Rodrigo Duterte who came out negative. — by Harlene Delgado

Water-intensive facilities get enterprising amid water service interruptions

Maris Federez   •   October 24, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The rotational water service interruptions scheduled by water concessionaires, Maynilad and Manila Water, had started in several areas in Metro Manila, Cavite and Bulacan at dawn on Thursday (October 24).

Maynilad and Manila Water adopted the said measure following the continuing decrease of the water level in Angat Dam.

Read: Maynilad warns of possible water service interruption in coming days

Alongside the residents stocking water for their daily use, owners of water-intensive facilities, such as laundromats and car wash centers, get enterprising to go on business as usual.

Laundry shop crewmembers say water service interruptions create big impact on their business as they need to adjust their operating hours in cases when their stored water in their water tanks would not suffice.

“Halimbawa nung nakaraan ang tubig bumalik siya ng alas tres na ng hapon, so off kami sa umaga tapos mag-oopen kami alas tres na or dos na ang opening namin” Nida Dagtan, a laundryshop staff said.

She also said water service interruptions affect their salaries as daily income wagers, particularly when they have to close their shop earlier than the usual time.

A carwash shop owner, meanwhile, said they have to store water in every way and containers they can so as not to have shortage during business hours, to the extent of securing rainwater catchments.

“Nagsasahod kami sa ulan para dun sa mga lower parts ng sasakyan dun namin ginagamit para makatipid kami ng tubig,” said Regie Echano, a carwash shop owner.

He added that on average, they can service 40 vehicles a day that’s why it is imperative that they have enough stored water.

Water refilling stations, on the other hand, would store water in two large tanks to ensure that they can service their clients even with the shortage.

“Pinupuno na po namin yung tangke para kapag walang tubig, may handa kami. May pambigay sa customer,” said Welmer Estanel, a water refilling station crew.

The National Water Resources Board (NWRB), however, advised the public to store water just enough to get by during the hours when the water supply is stalled.

This is so that Maynilad and Manila Water will not run low of water supply very quickly that would result in longer hours of water service interruption.

Based on Maynilad advisory, the areas they cover will experience around 8 to 18 hours of no water services; while Manila Water’s scheduled water interruption in the areas they cover will happen for four to eight hours.  (from the report of Joan Nano) /mbmf

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