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Penalty vs. Manila Water possible by June or July – MWSS

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – After drawing the ire of congressmen at Monday’s hearing on the water crisis, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) chief regulator Patrick Ty seemed to have pulled himself together to face the members of the Senate anew on Tuesday (March 19).

Ty was in hot water during the hearing at the House of Representatives (HOR) for claiming that the MWSS is powerless to punish Manila Water despite pointing out himself that the water concessionaire violated its mandate to provide 24/7 water to its clients.

But during Tuesday’s hearing in Senate, the chief regulator admitted that due to the ‘unprecedented situation’ caused by water outage and since no law prohibits the government to penalize violation of concession agreement, the MWSS can impose penalty even earlier than the next rebasing on 2022.

“We are studying it right now, we are also actually studying the amount of the penalty that will be imposed, which can be rebated,” Ty said.

“We are exploring the option of imposing it, if there is any, around June or July,” he added.

Ty said the MWSS wants to prioritize fixing the current supply problem.

During the hearing, stakeholders and local officials lamented over the situations in their areas because of shortage of water supply.

“Talagang walang tubig. Ito ang unang (pagkakataon na) naapektuhan (kami). Ang ginawa namin, ang lahat ng fire volunteer namin (ay) nagsama sama kasi talagang nagaaway away na po ang mga tao kasi hinaharang na po ang firetruck,” said Darwin Fernandez, a barangay chief in Mandaluyong City.

Manila Water President and CEO Ferdinand dela Cruz felt sorry for failing their customers but assured that they are mobilizing 30 delivery trucks a day to ration water in affected areas.

“I have instructed our team to look for ways to see how we could have for services that rendered in affected communities,” he said.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, questioned Manila Water regarding the Cardona treatment plant, a project supposed to be completed in December 2018 but has not been operating until today.

MWSS Administration Reynaldo Velasco said, had it running today it could have drawn water from La Mesa Dam and the it could have augmented to the water shortage.

The sad truth, Lacson said, consumers are now paying for the said unfinished project and that is “tantamount to a government sanctioned highway robbery.”

Velasco took the chance to raise the necessity to expedite the construction of the China-funded Kaliwa Dam which he believes would solve the recurrent problem in water supply.

But when asked to explain why the MWSS is pushing for China’s proposal than the much cheaper and faster construction deal of Japan, Velasco said the deal was already closed by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

“The project has been approved by the President and we cannot do anything anymore,”

Senate Committee on Public Services chair Senator Grace Poe urged the MWSS to hold Manila Water accountable for the current crisis to compensate the affected clients.

“Imposible na walang kompesasyon sa mga nangungunsumo dahil tayo ay talagang nangungunsime ngayon,” the lady senator said.

Because of the controversy, the Senate panel asked Manila Water to voluntarily lower the succeeding water rate in consideration of the affected customers.

Manila Water was adamant against agreeing, but the MWSS’ chief regulator said they will look into the suggestion.

“That is part of the things that we are doing kung pwede this month huwag mag-charge muna,” Ty assured.  — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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Manila Water COO resigns

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Water Co. Inc. chief operating officer Geodino V. Carpio has resigned from his post, the utility firm announced on Tuesday.

The Ayala-led water distributor said it has accepted Carpio’s resignation but did not explain why he is leaving the company.

Carpio officially steps down from office at the close of business hours on April 16.

Carpio, who served the company for 22 years, was recently visible to the public to explain the water shortage issue that gripped thousands of Manila Water’s clients in March.

Manila Water said that Abelardo Basilio, the current group director for strategic asset management and data protection officer, will replace Carpio as acting COO for Manila Water operations.

Basilio has been working for Manila Water for more than 20 years and previously headed the technical services group, corporate regulatory affairs, and served as group director for east zone business operations. – Robie de Guzman

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Duterte approves ‘in principle’ EO on water security

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

By Mietzekatze on Pixabay

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the draft of an Executive Order (EO) that will hopefully address water supply issues in the country, a Cabinet official said on Monday.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the EO, which will provide a master plan for water security, was approved “in principle” during the last Cabinet meeting.

“The draft has been given to the Office of the Executive Secretary already for vetting. So finalization na lang ‘yun ng draft, pipirmahan na lang ‘yun ng Pangulo,” Nograles said.

The EO mandates the reconstitution of the National Water Resources Board into a body that will manage the integration and coordination of government efforts in planning and implementing programs involving water.

The body is mandated to create a master plan on national water management composed of relevant and existing plans of agencies involved in the integrated water resource management (IWRM).

The EO will also seek a review of government agreements with water concessionaires.

The drafting of the EO came after a water shortage hit thousands of households being serviced by the Manila Water Company in eastern Metro Manila and Rizal province in March.

READ: Malacañang to release executive order to address water shortage

Nograles earlier said that before water interruptions gripped parts of Metro Manila, the government had already been working on the order to resolve water-related issues.

He said the inter-agency efforts were prompted by water management issues that were flagged in the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan (PDP).

The issues include limited implementation of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in many of the country’s river basins and watersheds, which results in the resources’ sub-optimal use and wastage; uncoordinated plans and programs and access to safe water supplies due to the uneven distribution of freshwater sources.

Nograles also mentioned the lack of updated and consolidated data on water resource availability, water stress levels, over/underutilization of resources, groundwater pollution, land subsidence and saltwater intrusion.

At least 32 agencies are involved in the water sector, with different offices involved in the various aspects of IWRM. – Robie de Guzman

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LIST: Manila Water identifies 20 areas to be given April full-bill waiver

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, April 4th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Water Services Company has identified 10 more areas that have been validated as severely affected by the water supply shortage that hit the eastern zone of Metro Manila and parts of Rizal province in March.

On Monday (April 1), Manila Water released a partial list of areas that will be given a one-time full-bill waiver for their March consumption, to be reflected on their April bill.

READ: Manila Water releases list of areas to be given full bill waiver

The 20 barangays validated as severely affected by the metro water crisis are as follows:

MANDALUYONG

  • Barangay Addition Hills
  • Barangay Barangka Drive
  • Barangay Plainview
  • Barangay Highway Hills
  • Barangay Hulo
  • Barangay Barangka Ilaya
  • Barangay Barangka Itaas
  • Barangay Mauway
  • Barangay Pleasant Hills

PASIG

  • Barangay Kapitolyo
  • Barangay Bagong Ilog
  • Barangay Oranbo
  • Barangay Pineda
  • Barangay Ugong

TAGUIG

  • Barangay Upper Bicutan

SAN JUAN

  • Barangay Addition Hills
  • Barangay Santa Lucia

BINANGONAN, RIZAL

  • Barangay Mambog
  • Barangay Macamot
  • Barangay Tatala

Manila Water also clarified that a total of 45 barangays were severely affected by the water shortage.

However, not all consumers will get a full-bill waiver as Manila Water will only waive the minimum charge or the first 10 cubic meters consumed in a month in some households that experienced only a few hours of service interruption and were supplied with water from other reservoirs.

The utility company earlier said the April bill will be fully waived if residents experienced total water service outage for at least seven days, whether consecutive or not from March 6 to 31.

Around 1.2 million households in eastern Metro Manila and Rizal province were hit with low pressure to no water supply last month.

Meanwhile, both Manila Water and Maynilad are open to reviewing their concession agreement with the government following President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to review all contracts entered into by the government.

READ: Duterte orders review of all gov’t deals

Manila Water said it is ready to talk with the government to find ways to ensure sustainable water security solution.

Maynilad, for its part, said it welcomes any review of the company’s obligations under the agreement as practiced by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).

“Maynilad has always believed in the sanctity of the concession agreement and the merits of this public-private partnership as seen in the vast improvement in the service levels enjoyed by our customers since we took over,” the company said in a statement.

“We welcome any review of our obligations under this agreement as has been undertaken by our regulator since the start of the concession,” it added. – Robie de Guzman

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