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Metro water crisis: Duterte orders Manila Water, Maynilad to release Angat Dam water

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, 15 March 2019 03:12 PM

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday (March 15) ordered the Metropolitan Waterworks Sewerage System (MWSS) to demand from Manila Water and Maynilad the release of water supply from Angat dam.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement that Duterte wants the release of water from Angat Dam to take effect Friday at noon to address the water crisis that has gripped thousands of households in Eastern Metro Manila and Rizal province for more than a week now.

Panelo said the Manila Water Company, Maynilad and other responsible offices were instructed to release water from Angat dam that is good for 150 days.

“The President is directing the Metropolitan Waterworks Sewerage System (MWSS) to demand from the Manila Water Company, Inc., Maynilad Water Services, Inc. and other responsible offices to release water from Angat dam by noon time today, March 1, good for 150 days, in order to supply the affected areas in Metro manila and deliver, as well as distribute sufficient water to the residents thereof,” Panelo said in his statement.

“Failure to act or comply with this directive, the President will personally go to them and make the responsible officers account for such failure,” he added.

MWSS is the government agency that is responsible for splitting the water concession into an east and a west concessionaire.

Manila Water provides for eastern Metro Manila and Rizal province while Maynilad services the western zone.

In response to Duterte’s order, MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco said they have already implemented ways to address the metro water crisis, including the daily release of maximum liters of water that can be accommodated in the common aqueducts and tunnels towards La Mesa Dam.

Velasco also clarified that the water being released from Angat Dam is measured in million liters per day and not in 150 days, in reference to the President’s order.

“I think the recommendations that were given to him are not the right recommendation. But I corrected that already. I texted Secretary to brief the President what is the real situation,” Velasco said.

“I already assured the President through (Executive) Secretary (Salvador) Medialdea that the MWSS will solve it at its level,” he added.

The MWSS Administrator earlier said Maynilad has agreed to share at least 50 million liters per day of its supply with Manila Water and lend its trucks to distribute water rations in affected areas.

Manila Water has also been given permission to activate its water treatment plant in Rizal this month to serve as another source to supply households.

“’Yun naman pong deep wells, the Manila Water was already given the authority by NWRB to start simultaneously lahat ng pwede nilang gawin just to make sure that the 100mld na kakulangan niya pa ay matatapos because the President does not want this to last more than two months,” Velasco added.

He also assured that the MWSS will do everything in its power to solve the metro water crisis, and urged the public to stop the blame game.

“Sabi ko nga, walang sisihan ito pero just for your information, lahat ng ito dapat ginawa a long time ago na eh. We are being on a catch up mode,” he said.

Velasco also lamented the delays in the implementation of projects, such as Kaliwa and Laiban dams, which are part of the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program aimed at boosting water supply and ensuring long-term supply in Metro Manila and nearby areas.

The completion of these projects has been delayed following oppositions from environmentalists and other groups in 2018.

“Hindi kayang gawin in three years ang dam. We have started doing all of this pag-upo namin, inaayos na namin ‘yung kaya naming gawin. There is no short term to get the water. We have, all the time, been relying on Angat dam which pag-upo namin, na-realize namin is not the right thing,” he said.

That’s why we opened the Kaliwa Dam. Kaliwa dam started during the Duterte administration, we hope to finish it during the Duterte administration,” he added.

Velasco said the Kaliwa Dam is supposed to be the first land-based water source that will be opened after 40 years to lessen the pressure on Angat Dam.

“That is the first land-based water source na inumpisahan after 40 years. Can you imagine nag-rely tayo sa Angat dam for 40 years? Kailangan natin yun,” Velasco said.

READ: Long queues, water recycling: How are Filipinos coping with water shortage

Since last week, residents in several areas in Metro Manila have been grappling with limited water supply partly due to the rapidly declining water level at La Mesa Dam brought by the prevailing El Niño phenomenon.

The water service interruptions started shortly after Manila Water announced in March 4 that it is implementing adjustments in its water service operations as part of its contingency plan for the effects of El Niño.

READ: Manila Water to adjust service operations as La Mesa Dam water level drops

READ: Manila Water apologizes for ‘surprise’ service interruption in parts of Metro Manila

Angat Dam water level, which is the main water source of Metro Manila, is still reportedly within the normal level. It is connected to the reservoir of the La Mesa dam, which is now at its lowest water level in 21 years.

READ: La Mesa Dam water level lowest in 21 years-PAGASA

READ: Malacañang eyes probe on ‘artificial’ Manila Water shortage

On Thursday, Panelo raised the possibility that the shortage in Manila Water supply is just artificial, citing information that Maynilad is not facing the same problem when both concessionaires are drawing from Angat Dam. –– Robie de Guzman

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Duterte denies Bacolod mayor’s involvement in illegal drugs

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, 22 March 2019 12:33 PM

(L-R) President Rodrigo Duterte and Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia | Photo from Mayor Leonardia’s Facebook page

President Rodrigo Duterte denies the involvement of Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia in illegal drugs.

A video was posted on the president’s Facebook page, where he reiterated his support for Leonardia and his candidacy.

He also called out former Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella to stop splicing videos just to discredit Leonardia.

“But I want to tell mga taga Bacolod, wala akong sinabi about diyan. But kung tanuning ninyo kung sino para sa akin, I do not want a guy na making a fraud sa lahat ng sinasabi ko, (I did not say anything about the matter. But if you are going to ask me, I do not want a guy making a fraud out of everything I say.)” the president said.—Aileen Cerrudo

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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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