MANILA, Philippines – A Senate panel is set to tackle this week the franchise applications of concessionaires, Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Company.
The Senate committee on public services will conduct the virtual inquiry on Wednesday, Sept. 1.
“It is the goal of our committee to ensure that the franchise applicants will indeed put the welfare of our people first,” Senator Grace Poe, who chairs the committee, said in a statement.
The senator earlier assured that the bills will go through a fine-tooth comb and challenged the applicants not only to provide access to safe and clean water, but also root out the inconvenience of constant water interruptions.
Citing 2013 and 2016 studies, Poe said the Asian Development Bank has rated the country’s water security at the bottom quarter out of 48 Asia-Pacific countries, with poor governance as the main cause, not water scarcity.
Currently, 15 million Filipinos still do not have access to water while more than 55 people die every day from water-related causes, she added.
“Now more than ever, access to safe and affordable water is basic and crucial in our fight to douse the risks and perils of the unseen virus,” Poe said.
Maynilad Water services the west zone area of Metro Manila and the province of Cavite while Manila Water maintains the waterworks and sewerage system in the east zone and the province of Rizal.
Among the guests invited to the hearing are some officials from the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, Manila Water, Maynilad, Philippine Competition Commission, Department of Justice, and some representatives from consumer groups.