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

Robie de Guzman   •   March 15, 2019   •   4354

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

Duterte’s China visit to skip Fujian province

Marje Pelayo   •   August 23, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte and his delegation are set to fly to China for a working visit in response to the invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping.

It will be Duterte’s fifth visit to Beijing and his eight meeting with Xi.

The two leaders will meet on August 29 when they will discuss several agreements on education, science and technology, economy and social development.

The President himself also stressed that he would insist the Hague Arbitral Ruling during his meeting with the Chinese President along with other sensitive issues like the code of conduct and joint exploration in the disputed territory in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

“We cannot preempt what does the President will discuss in particular regarding the arbitral ruling. So, it will be his call during the meeting with the President with his counterpart,” explained Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Meynardo Montealegre.

The Philippine delegation will also attend a business forum in China in cooperation with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The President’s itinerary includes a meeting with Vice President Wang Qishan and some relax time in the opening of the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Guanzhou on August 31 in support to the Philippines’ GILAS team in their game against Italy.

Meanwhile, contrary to earlier announcements, President Duterte will no longer push through with his visit to Fujian province where he was supposed to grace the launching of a university building as tribute to his mother, Soledad.

According to the President’s close in staff, this is not the right time for it.

“But for this particular visit, there was a plan and then the recommendation now is to move it at a later date because it’s more appropriate to be done at a later date and not at this particular time,” noted Robert Borje, the Chief of the Presidential Protocol and Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)


Palace opposes Urban Dictionary definition of ‘Duterte’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 20, 2019

The Malacañang refuted the Urban Dictionary for defining ‘Duterte’ as ‘to scam, trick, or con.

During a press briefing on Tuesday (Aug 20), Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo will seek to counter the definition on the website.

“‘Duterte’ to us means honest, incorruptible, politically-willed person, courageous, selfless, honest, transparent and all good things…and other synonymous terms,” Panelo said.

The definition was uploaded by an unknown internet user one month ago. Urban Dictionary is crowd-sourced online dictionary for slang words and phrases.

Panelo suspects, the uploader might be a member of anti-Duterte groups.—AAC

No water in parts of Metro Manila on August 20-21 – Maynilad

Robie de Guzman   •   August 16, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Maynilad Water Services has announced a schedule of temporary water service interruptions in parts of Metro Manila from August 20 (Tuesday) to August 21 (Wednesday).

In an advisory, Maynilad said the water service disruption slated from August 20 at 6 p.m. to August 21 at 6 a.m. will affect several areas of Manila, Caloocan, Malabon, and Navotas.

The west zone water concessionaire said the service interruption is due to maintenance activities aimed at improving water services.

Below is the list of affected barangays and their corresponding supply interruption schedules:

MANILA

  • Barangay 124 to 127
  • Barangay 129 to 146
  • Barangay 177

CALOOCAN

  • Barangay 12
  • Barangay 14
  • Barangay 20
  • Barangay 28
  • Barangay 31
  • Barangay 35

MALABON

  • Barangay Longos
  • Tuna
  • Torcillo
  • Dagat-Dagatan Ext.
  • Dalagang Bukid East/C3
  • Lapu-Lapu West
  • Dagat-Dagatan

NAVOTAS

  • Barangay Bangculasi
  • Barangay North Bay Blvd.
  • San Rafael Village

Maynilad urged its customers to store water at least three days before the scheduled interruption to prevent simultaneous heavy withdrawals of water from its pipelines, which can reduce water pressure and cause some customers to have no water earlier than scheduled.

The water concessionaire assured water tankers will be on standby to deliver water to affected areas as needed.

Upon resumption of water service, customers are also advised to let the water flow out for a few seconds until the water clears.

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