MWSS Chief Regulator: No power to punish Manila Water over supply woes
Robie de Guzman • March 18, 2019 • 2321
MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) said on Monday (March 18) that it has no power to punish the Manila Water Company, Inc. even if it violated its obligation to provide uninterrupted water services to its consumers.
“Based on the terms of concession agreement, Manila Water has violated their mandate to provide 24/7 water,” MWSS Chief Regulator Patrick Ty said during a hearing conducted by the House Committee on Metro Manila Development on Monday.
However, Ty said the MWSS has no power to hold the water concessionaire accountable because the concessionaire agreement provides no penal provision authorizing the Regulatory office to impose any fines.
“What will happen is that we can take this up in the fifth rate rebasing, which will happen in 2022,” Ty said.
“That is why the MWSS has been repeatedly requesting Congress to petition for a Department of Water and a water regulatory commission to allow the imposing of these fines and penalties,” he added.
The MWSS chief regulator’s statement was in response to some solons’ call to penalize Manila Water over the water shortage that hit parts of Metro Manila and Rizal Province for more than a week now.
Caloocan 2nd District Edgar ‘Egay’ Erice said Manila Water should have sounded the alarm over the looming water shortage in eastern Metro Manila since the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) issued an El Niño advisory as early as January this year.
“Kung sensitive kayo sa problema ng mga consumers nyo, dapat January pa lang humingi na kayo ng tulong,” Erice admonished.
ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio, on the other hand, contradicted Ty’s statement, insisting that the MWSS has the authority to punish Manila Water.
Tinio cited Section 10.4 of the Concession Agreement between the MWSS and Manila Water Company, Inc. which states that “failure by the concessionaire meet any service obligation which continues for more than 60 days (or 15 days in cases where the failure could adversely affect public health or welfare) after written notice thereof from the Regulatory Office to the Concessionaire shall constitute a basis for the Regulatory Office to assess financial penalties against the concessionaires.”
“The amount of such penalty shall be equal to 25% of the costs that, in the reasonable opinion of the Regulatory Office, the concessionaire will incur in order to meet the service obligation in question; provided, however, that if the Concessionaire does not meet such service obligation within 180 days, the amount of the penalty shall be equal to 50% of such costs,” the contract read.
“Napakalinaw po ng sinasabi dito (kontrata). Ang sabi n’ya (Ty) kailangan pa tayo maghintay ng rebasing ng kanilang rate in five years bago masingil ‘yung penalty. Napakalinaw dito na after 15 days, kung di pa nila maayos, pwede na kayo mag-impose ng penalty,” Tinio said.
“We will revisit that again,” Ty said in response to Tinio’s prodding, arguing that the penalty could apply on the next rate rebasing in 2022.
To address the issue, House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said there might be a need for a new law that would give more authority to MWSS to punish erring concessionaires.
“Perhaps in the law, we have to add a penalty for those who failed to comply with some parts of the concession agreement,” Arroyo said.
Manila Water President Ferdinand dela Cruz, meanwhile, expressed willingness to face penalties and all the responsibility for the ongoing water shortage in eastern Metro Manila.
“Whatever the accountability for this issue takes me as President of Manila Water, I am willing to take that accountability,” he said.
Cruz also assured that consumers hit with water interruptions will soon find relief as their water supply continues to increase.
However, he said the water supply is expected to go back to normal by the month of May. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Grace Casin)
MANILA, Philippines – Parts of Metro Manila will experience water service interruption from August 6 (Tuesday) to 7 (Wednesday), Maynilad Water Services Inc. announced on Thursday.
In a series of advisory posted on Twitter, Maynilad said the scheduled temporary water disruption will affect consumers in Caloocan, Manila, Malabon, Navotas, Las Piñas and Imus City in Cavite.
Below are the list of affected areas and their scheduled service interruption:
MALABON (from 4 p.m. Tuesday to 3 a.m. Wednesday)
Barangay Longos (along Dagat-Dagatan Ave. from Lapu-Lapu Ave to P. Aquino Ave., along C4 Road from Lascano Street to Pampano Street)
NAVOTAS (from 4 p.m. Tuesday to 3 a.m. Wednesday)
Barangay North Bay Boulevard
Barangay San Rafael Village
CALOOCAN (from 4 p.m. Tuesday to 3 a.m. Wednesday)
MANILA (from 4 p.m. Tuesday to 3 a.m. Wednesday)
Barangay 124 to 127
Barangay 129 to 146
MANILA (from 8 p.m. Tuesday to 4 a.m. Wednesday)
Barangay 79 to 83
Barangay 93 to 112
Barangay 116 to 119
LAS PIÑAS (from 6 a.m. Tuesday to 1 a.m. Wednesday)
Barangay Manuyo Uno and Dos
Barangay Talon Uno and Dos
Barangay Pulang Lupa Dos
IMUS CITY (from 6 a.m. Tuesday to 1 a.m. Wednesday)
Barangay Anabu I-A to Id and I-F
Barangay Bayan Luma I to IX
Barangay Bucandala I to V
Barangay Carsadang Bago I and II
Barangay Malagasang I-A to I-D and I-G
Barangay Poblacion I-A to I-C
Barangay Poblacion II-A and II-B
Barangay Poblacion III-A and III-B
Barangay Poblacion IV-A to IV-D
Barangay Tanzang Luma I to VI
Barangay Toclong I-A to I-C
The west zone water concessionaire said the water interruption in parts of Caloocan, Manila, Malabon and Caloocan is due to the relocation of a 3.6 feet by 2.5 feet-diameter water pipeline to give to way to the construction of the Skyway Project along C3 Road between A. Mabini and Dagat-Dagatan Avenue in Caloocan City.
The scheduled water disruption, meanwhile, in other parts of Manila is due to the installation of flowmeter at Radial Road 10 in Tondo; while the service interruption in Las Piñas and Imus City is mainly due to the repair of the Automatic Transfer Switch of Pagcor pumping station in Parañaque City.
For customers who have inquiries, Maynilad may be contacted at its hotlines 1626 (Metro Manila) and 1800-100092837 (Cavite).
Customers of water concessionaires, Manila Water and Maynilad complained about the late posting of water interruption schedules.
Manila Water posted its advisory around 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday. However, several residents said they already lost water supply by 5:00 p.m.
One of the residents, Tessie Olmos, said she was surprised about the water interruption and hence was not able to store water at home.
“Hindi man lang sinabi, nag-abiso kung mawawalan o hindi kaya nagulat na lang kami nang bandang hapon na wala ng tubig. Hindi man lang kami nakapag-ipon (There was no advisory so we were surprised that there was no more water. We were not able to store water),” she said.
Another resident, Rey Tayag, said there was an advisory but it was already late.
Meanwhile, Maynilad posted its advisory on Facebook at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday (June 19). The post read that there will be water interruption in several areas at 1:00 p.m.
Customers complained in the comment section saying there was not enough time for them to store enough water.
According to the water concessionaire, they are working on fixing the water interruption schedule. They also call on the public to understand the situation because there are a lot of things to consider to satisfy the need for water supply amid the limited resources.
“Short notice din naman iyong nangyari. After the technical working group meeting kahapon and after the press briefing, that was the only time na sinabi na there’s going to be a reduction. There was very little time for us to really list all the barangay and come up with a schedule (What happened was also at short notice. After the technical working group meeting yesterday, and after the press briefing, that was the only time it was reported that there’s going to be a reduction),” according to Manila Water spokesperson Jeric Sevilla Jr.
According to Maynilad’s Corporate Communications head, Jennifer Rufo, they need time to analyze the impact of their distribution system.
“As it was announced the implementation was already being done that let us a little bit of time to analyze kung ano iyong magiging impact sa aming distribution system (what will be the impact of our distribution system),” she said.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) will investigate the complaints about the water interruption schedule of both Maynilad and Manila Water.—AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)
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