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Maynilad begins ‘cross-border’ supply sharing with Manila Water

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, 15 March 2019 05:18 PM

Maynilad Water Services opens one of its water valves along West Avenue in Quezon City to allow Manila Water to tap into their supply.

Manila Water consumers will soon find relief from water shortage that gripped the eastern Metro Manila and Rizal Province for more than a week now.

In a report on UNTV News and Rescue’s Ito ang Balita by Grace Casin on Friday, Manila Water Company can now tap on Maynilad Water Services’ supply after the latter formally opened one its water valves along West Avenue in Quezon City.

The said water valve was closed since 1997.

Earlier this week, Maynilad agreed to a ‘cross-border’ water sharing deal with Manila Water to help address its unstable water supply.

Maynilad will share around 50 million liters per day (mld) of its supply after Manila Water agreed with the tariff rates to be applied on the water sharing deal.   

“Progressively i-increase ‘yan to 50MLD, dahan-dahan dahil mayroon pong gagawin. Plus the deep well, ‘pag pinagsabay-sabay po natin, aabutin pa rin po tayo ng April hanggang May,” Manila Water President and CEO Ferdz dela Cruz told reporters during a press briefing on Friday.

According to the Metropolitan Waterworks Sewerage System (MWSS), water sharing between the two concessionaires has long been practiced to help resolve any water emergency.

MWSS President Ronesito Fernandez said that in 2015, Manila Water also came to Maynilad’s rescue when it encountered issues in its water supply due to the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.

“Kasama po ‘yun sa concession agreement na magsi-sharing ng water in cases of emergency,” Fernandez said.

On Monday (March 18), Representatives from MWSS, National Water Resources Board (NWRB), Maynilad and Manila Water are set to face the Lower House to explain about the water shortage that affected thousands of households in parts of Metro Manila and Rizal province.

During the hearing, Solons also agreed to urge the NWRB to allow the use of deep wells during crisis.

The NWRB released a moratorium in 2004 banning unauthorized deep well extraction and pumping of underground water sources in Metro Manila and Cebu to protect groundwater reserves and avoid land subsidence and salt water intrusion.

READ: NWRB warns vs digging illegal deep wells amid water shortage in Metro Manila

“Maybe on Monday, we can prepare a committee resolution allowing them that could be part of the interpretation of the law,” House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said.

Arroyo met with MWSS officials on Thursday (March 14) to discuss the metro water shortage. The meeting was also attended by some Congressmen who suggested for Manila Water to lower the pressure in other areas it is servicing to meet the allocation needs of households hit with service interruption.

“Lahat na lang parepareho na magsakripisyo. Hihinaan ang presyon sa lahat para maiwasan natin ‘yung totally wala nang tubig na tumutulo (sa gripo),” Marikina 1st District Representative Bayani Fernando said.

Malacañang earlier said it is set to issue an Executive Order (EO) to address the many issues involving the supply and distribution of water in Metro Manila.

READ: Malacañang to release executive order on water shortage

The MWSS, for its part, assured that short-term and medium-term solutions are in place to hopefully address the water shortage.

“Hopefully, all these solutions that we have provided are on track, then maybe by April things will go back to normal,” MWSS Chief Regulator Patrick Ty said. – Robie de Guzman

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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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Penalty vs. Manila Water possible by June or July – MWSS

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, 19 March 2019 11:36 PM

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – After drawing the ire of congressmen at Monday’s hearing on the water crisis, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) chief regulator Patrick Ty seemed to have pulled himself together to face the members of the Senate anew on Tuesday (March 19).

Ty was in hot water during the hearing at the House of Representatives (HOR) for claiming that the MWSS is powerless to punish Manila Water despite pointing out himself that the water concessionaire violated its mandate to provide 24/7 water to its clients.

But during Tuesday’s hearing in Senate, the chief regulator admitted that due to the ‘unprecedented situation’ caused by water outage and since no law prohibits the government to penalize violation of concession agreement, the MWSS can impose penalty even earlier than the next rebasing on 2022.

“We are studying it right now, we are also actually studying the amount of the penalty that will be imposed, which can be rebated,” Ty said.

“We are exploring the option of imposing it, if there is any, around June or July,” he added.

Ty said the MWSS wants to prioritize fixing the current supply problem.

During the hearing, stakeholders and local officials lamented over the situations in their areas because of shortage of water supply.

“Talagang walang tubig. Ito ang unang (pagkakataon na) naapektuhan (kami). Ang ginawa namin, ang lahat ng fire volunteer namin (ay) nagsama sama kasi talagang nagaaway away na po ang mga tao kasi hinaharang na po ang firetruck,” said Darwin Fernandez, a barangay chief in Mandaluyong City.

Manila Water President and CEO Ferdinand dela Cruz felt sorry for failing their customers but assured that they are mobilizing 30 delivery trucks a day to ration water in affected areas.

“I have instructed our team to look for ways to see how we could have for services that rendered in affected communities,” he said.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, questioned Manila Water regarding the Cardona treatment plant, a project supposed to be completed in December 2018 but has not been operating until today.

MWSS Administration Reynaldo Velasco said, had it running today it could have drawn water from La Mesa Dam and the it could have augmented to the water shortage.

The sad truth, Lacson said, consumers are now paying for the said unfinished project and that is “tantamount to a government sanctioned highway robbery.”

Velasco took the chance to raise the necessity to expedite the construction of the China-funded Kaliwa Dam which he believes would solve the recurrent problem in water supply.

But when asked to explain why the MWSS is pushing for China’s proposal than the much cheaper and faster construction deal of Japan, Velasco said the deal was already closed by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

“The project has been approved by the President and we cannot do anything anymore,”

Senate Committee on Public Services chair Senator Grace Poe urged the MWSS to hold Manila Water accountable for the current crisis to compensate the affected clients.

“Imposible na walang kompesasyon sa mga nangungunsumo dahil tayo ay talagang nangungunsime ngayon,” the lady senator said.

Because of the controversy, the Senate panel asked Manila Water to voluntarily lower the succeeding water rate in consideration of the affected customers.

Manila Water was adamant against agreeing, but the MWSS’ chief regulator said they will look into the suggestion.

“That is part of the things that we are doing kung pwede this month huwag mag-charge muna,” Ty assured.  — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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