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

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, March 15th, 2019

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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No water in 20 QC villages due to emergency leak repairs – Manila Water

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

The Manila Water Co. announced on Thursday that 20 villages in Quezon City will experience temporary water service interruptions as it undertakes emergency leak repairs.

In an advisory posted on its Facebook page, Manila Water said the joint leak repair and pipe interconnection/relocation at the Elliptical Road in Quezon City was due to an accidental breakage on a major pipeline caused by one of the Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) contractors.

“Due to an accidental breakage caused by a DPWH contractor, damaging our major pipeline at Elliptical Road corner Commonwealth Avenue (northbound) in Quezon City, Manila Water is currently undertaking emergency leak repairs which will result in temporary water service interruption,” the advisory read.

SERVICE ADVISORY: JOINT LEAK REPAIR & PIPE INTERCONNECTION/RELOCATION (MRT 7) ACTIVITIES AT ELLIPTICAL ROAD, QUEZON…

Posted by Manila Water on Wednesday, 22 May 2019

The water distributor said the repair works is expected to be completed on May 24 (Friday) at 6 a.m.

Affected villages are listed below:

  • Ramon Magsaysay
  • Alicia
  • Santo Cristo
  • Bagong Pag-asa
  • Old Capitol Site
  • Vasra
  • Project 6
  • Culiat
  • New Era 
  • Bahay Toro
  • Tandang Sora
  • Pasong Tamo
  • Central
  • Malaya
  • Pinyahan
  • Sikatuna Village
  • San Vicente
  • Teachers Village East
  • Teachers Village West
  • U.P. Village

The Manila Water said the water service interruption will affect 242,000 people in 44,056 households, commercial and business establishments.

“The interconnection of the new 900mm relocated pipeline at Elliptical Road corner North Avenue, which was previously planned for May 24 to 25, will also be undertaken at the same time to minimize impact to the affected customers,” it added.

The Manila Water advised affected residents to store enough water as some of these areas may still experience service interruptions even after the restoration “due to the still-limited raw water supply.”

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Alias ‘Bikoy’ should prove allegations to be credible — Malacañang

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

(L-R) Vice President Leni Robredo and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday (May 23) refused to give its assessment on the credibility of Peter Joemel Advincula alias Bikoy following the retraction of his previous claims.

Advincula previously confessed as the man behind a series of narco-videos entitled “Ang Totoong Narcolist” that linked President Rodrigo Duterte and his family to illegal drugs trade.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, Advincula should submit first evidence that would prove his claims and allegations against the personalities he was implicating.

The Palace is leaving it up to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) on what charges they will file against Advincula as consequences of his actions and for any violations of the law.

“We will have to wait for Bikoy or Advincula to substantiate his charges and after that we’ll see if there are charges to be filed in court then the truth will come out,” Panelo said.

“As I said repeatedly, no matter how you close, you cover, truth will always come out,” he added.

Malacañang, meanwhile, strongly denied the allegation of opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV who claimed that alias Bikoy’s retraction was another ploy by the Duterte administration to pin down the opposition.

“In the first place the opposition has been harassing this government, this administration. they are the ones sowing intrigues as we repeatedly said,” Panelo said.

Advincula surrendered to the police and revealed that everything he said in the videos were orchestrated by the Liberal Party (LP) and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

Vice President Leni Robredo in a televised conference following Advincula’s surrender said all allegations is “unfair” to the opposition party.

“Napakaraming pangalan na nasambit. Ang Liberal Party once again (ay) nahila dito sa controversy. I can speak for the party. Wala kaming kinalaman dito sa Bikoy issue,” Robredo said.

“There were so many names mentioned. The Liberal Party was once again tagged in the controversy. I can speak for the party. We have nothing to do with this Bikoy issue.)

“Unfair na isali uli ang LP dito. Kung ito ay harassment, kung ito ay ginagawang paraan para lalong yurakan o tapakan ang Liberal Party o kaming nasa oposisyon, hindi ito magiging dahilan para magpatinag tayo, para huminto tayo sa pagpupuna kung may kailangang punahin,” she concluded.

(I find it unfair to again tag LP. If this is harassment to pull down the Liberal Party or the opposition, this will not be a reason for us to stop to criticize.) (with reports from Rosalie Coz) Marje Pelayo

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Manila Water customers to start receiving bill rebates in June

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 21st, 2019

Manila Water customers who had been affected by the water crisis in March will start receiving their rebates.

The rebates for the more than 100,000 affected customers will be reflected in the June water bill.

Based on the announcement made by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), all residents who had been affected by the crisis will receive 153.93 rebates for the 10 cubic meters of their water consumption in the month of May.

Residents in the severely affected areas who had been rendered waterless 24/7 from March 6 to 31 will be given additional 2,196.94 rebates.

In case the rebate is higher than the actual consumption, the remaining value will be applied to the next month’s water bill, or will be deducted to the previous month’s unpaid bill.

MWSS chief regulator, Atty Patrick Ty said, “the entire 534 million yun po babalik yan lahat sa publiko wala pong maiiwan o walang mapupunta sa MWSS [the entire 534 Million will be returned to the public. Nothing will be left or go to the MWSS].”

Manila Water Spokesperson Jeric Sevilla, on the other hand, said, “susundin natin yun. Kaya ngayon yung rebate para sa customers amounting to 534M, we will coordinate with the regulatory office in terms of implementing yung mga mechanics at guidelines [We will abide by it. The rebates for the customers amounting to 534M will be coordinated with the regulatory office in terms of the implementation of the mechanics and guidelines].”

Customers who will receive rebates from Manila Water are from Taguig, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Quezon City and several towns from Rizal.

The Water Bill Waiver Program is part of the 1.13 Billion-peso fines that was meted out on Manila Water due to its failure to supply water to its customers.

The MWSS also ordered Manila Water to put up a new facility for its water source development measures that cost 600 Million pesos.

This will prevent the incident from happening again and to allow Manila Water to come up with an alternative source of water supply.

Meanwhile, the MWSS has also issued a Notice of Service Obligation Failure to Maynilad Water Services (Maynilad) for the mounting complaints on its services.

Atty. Ty said the 15 days they gave to Maynilad for it to address its water supply problem had already lapsed.

The water regulatory board is giving Maynilad five days to refute the notice and state why they should not be meted out penalties.

Most of the complaints that the MWSS received against Maynila had come from Las Pinas, Muntinlupa and Cavite customers.

Maynilad, in a statement, insisted that the penalty has no basis. It also belied reports that its customers had experienced water interruption for 15 days.

The water company insisted that only 12 percent of its customers had experienced water supply interruption and the agency had adopted measures of rationing water in the affected areas. (with reports from Joan Nano) /mbmf

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