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

by Marje Pelayo   |   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 eyes service adjustments as Angat dam nears the critical level

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019

File photo: Image of Angat Dam taken on May 2, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – East Zone concessionaire Manila Water Company Inc. hinted at the possibility of implementing rotational water service interruptions as the water level in Angat dam continues to drop despite recent rains.

In an advisory posted on Facebook Sunday, the Manila Water said the Angat dam level has further dipped and is nearing the critical level of 160 meters.

As of 6 a.m. on Monday (June 17), Angat’s water level is at 162.39 meters.

“As a result, Manila Water may need to make further operational adjustments affecting water supply for our customers,” the Manila Water said.

Water level in Angat Dam continues to decline and is nearing the low critical level of 160 meters (162.78m as of June…

Posted by Manila Water on Sunday, 16 June 2019

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) has declared the start of the rainy season last week.

But even with the recent rains, according to Manila Water, the water level at the Angat Dam remains low.

If this continues, the company said it may be forced to implement contingency measures to manage the limited water supply.

“Maaari po kaming magpatupad muli ng mga ‘rotational water service interruptions’ sa buong East zone,” its advisory read.

The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) earlier announced it has reduced the allocation for Metro Manila from 48 cubic meters per second to 46 CBS for the month of June due to lower water levels at Angat Dam.

READ: Water interruptions loom as NWRB cuts allocation for Metro Manila

With the dwindling water supply, consumers were advised to brace for possible water interruptions.

The Manila Water expressed hope that the situation will improve once there is enough rainwater to fill up dams.

It also assured to regularly post updates on water supply condition on its social media accounts.

West Zone concessionaire Maynilad Water Services Inc., for its part, said it also implemented water interruptions from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. when water usage is usually low.

The limited water supply will especially affect consumers in elevated areas.

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Duterte appoints another military man for MWSS

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, May 27th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said he has a name in mind who could take the place of Reynaldo Velasco as administrator of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).

The President, speaking at a thanksgiving party for Senator-elect Bong Go in Davao City on Friday (May 24) said he wants retired army general, Ricardo Morales to lead the agency. 

The announcement came months after severe water interruptions hit several parts of Metro Manila, specifically the east zone service area including Rizal.

During the Martial Law years, Morales was arrested for his alleged involvement in a destabilization plot against the Marcos government.

Morales served as the commander of the Philippine Army (PA) 404th Brigade based in Eastern Mindanao. But in 2005, he was relieved reportedly due to his online criticisms of the military leadership.

He belongs to Philippine Military Academy (PMA) class of 1977. – (with details from Rosalie Coz) Marje Pelayo

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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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