Prices of bottled water, plastic drums spike amid shortage

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 15, 2019   •   2160

From a gallon of water costing P30, it now costs P50.

The phone in Jay Tandayo’s water station has been ringing nonstop with customers asking only one question: when will their delivery arrive?

Jay and his crew still haven’t slept after driving to Sampaloc, Manila to get water supply. The weak water pressure in Mandaluyong could no longer fill up their own tank.

In order to supplement the expenses they used for gasoline, they had no choice but to increase prices.

Because of their dedication to their customers, they are prepared for sleepless nights, even if with meager earnings.

“Mahirap po dahil naaapektuhan ang negosyo natin kaya ginagawa po namin, nag aangkat kami sa Sampaloc para continuous ang supply. Sa ngayon hindi namin masabing kumikita o nalulugi pero siguro break-even [It is difficult because our business is affected. We source our stock from Sampaloc for continuous supply. For now, we cannot say if we are earning or not, it’s more of a break-even],” Tandayo said.

Mandaluyong resident Ariel Blaza, meanwhile, is prepared to pay even up to P100 for water as long as his kids will have something to drink.

The water coming from their faucet is not drinkable.

“Gigising ka ng madaling araw para magibig ng tubig parang ihi lang lumalabas sa gripo minsan marumi pa, makalawang. Wala tayo magagawa kailangan natin ng tubig kung hindi ka naman bibili ng tubig, ano iinumin mo baka mas mahirap pa baka magkasakit ka pa lalo mas malaki gagastusin mo [You will wake up so early in the morning just to collect water but the water pressure would be weak and rusty. We cannot do anything about it because we need water. If you will not buy water, what will you drink? Worse is, you might get sick which would cost more],” he said.

Another resident, Andrea Bernasol, painstakingly carries a gallon of water to her home despite her slim physique.

The water from their faucet is also dirty so she is willing to pay for clean water.

“Wala namang magagawa, for safety na rin. Puro kasi kami babae sa bahay kaya walang choice [There’s not much we can do about it, it is for our safety. We are all women at home, so we have to carry it ourselves],” she said.

Several laundry shops and water stations in Mandaluyong have already closed due to lack of water supply.

Aside from high water prices, there is also an increase in plastic drum prices. In a residential area in the city, a plastic drum costs P350 which previously cost P150 to P200.

Meanwhile, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has warned water refilling stations that are overcharging.

“Hindi sila pwedeng magsamantala kasi papasok na ang DTI hindi por que water refilling station sila ay hindi na namin sakop siyempre the fact na binobote nila iyan para inumin papasok na ngayon ang jurisdiction ng DTI [They cannot abuse the price hike because the DTI will monitor that. Just because they are a water refilling station doesn’t mean they are not under our jurisdiction. The fact that they put water in bottles to drink, it falls under the DTI’s jurisdiction],” DTI undersecretary Ruth Castelo said.

The DTI will also inspect water refilling stations in affected areas in order to check if their price increase on bottled water is still fair. —Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Mon Jocson)

Manila Water continues implementation of rotational water service interruption through dry season

Maris Federez   •   February 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — More than one million Manila Water customers will be affected by the rotational water service interruption that the water concessionaire started on Thursday (Feb. 20).

Manila Water said this is due to the low water allocation, as well as its preparation for the dry season.

“So, ineexpect natin na bababa nang husto ang level ng dam. So, this early, kailangan paghandaan natin ‘yon para ‘yong limitadong supply na nakukuha natin sa Angat Dam na siyang nagsu-supply ng 96, 97 percent ng tubig para sa Metro Manila, mas ma-manage natin ng mabuti at nang tayo ay makatawid ngayong summer hanggang sa bago dumating uli ‘yong tag-ulan,” Manila Water Spokesperson Jeric Sevilla said.

In January, the water company started lowering the pressure of the water distributed to households in Metro Manila and Rizal province. This is done in off-peak hours or from 10 in the evening to 6 in the morning.

“While ‘yung interruption na binanggit natin is about 4 to 10 hours. In reality, mas maikli dahil nga madaling araw lang natin gagawin. So, generally, mga 11 to about 3 to 4 in the morning lang ito kung saan hindi nila mararamdaman,” Sevilla said.

He added that the schedule and the affected areas of the water service interruption can be found on the company’s Facebook page.

Manila Water added that the rotational water service interruption will continue as long as the water allocation by the National Water Resources Board is still below normal.

For the past several months, the water allocated to Manila Water is just 42 cubic meters per second —much lower than the normal allocation of 46 cubic meters per second.

As of 8:00 AM on Friday, the water level in Angat dam was at 202.48 meters.

According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the rain brought by the Northeast Monsoon or Amihan contributed to the rise of the water level in Angat.

To date, Metro Manila will still have a reduced water allocation.

The NWRB said the board will still have to discuss how much water will be allocated in Metro Manila in the coming months. — (from the report of Asher Cadapan, Jr.) /mbmf

Panelo to recommend review of UP-Ayala Technohub contract to Pres. Duterte

Maris Federez   •   January 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo will recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte to also review the contract of the University of the Philippines-Diliman with the Ayala Land Incorporated for the conversion of a UP lot into UP-Ayala Land Technohub.

Panelo said that a study has come to his attention showing the very low lease amount that the Ayala group is paying to UP.

A number of business outsourcing firms, retail areas, campus apartments, and business hotels has occupied the Technohub that is now a popular hangout place in Quezon City.

The Palace official said he will recommend to the president a closer review of the lease contract to check the veracity of the report that the Ayala Land group is only paying UP just a little higher than Php20.00 per square meter for 25 years.

“Only 10.4 billion will be taken by the government at the end of 25 years […] mukhang kawawa na naman ang gobyerno dito,” said Panelo.

He added that should the claim in the report be true, it will cause so much loss for the government.

“Definitely lugi ang gobyerno dito,” he said.

The Ayala group, on the other hand, has denied the allegation of the very low rental fee.

It, however, welcomes whatever review that will be conducted on its lease contract with UP.

Aside from the Technohub, the President has also slammed Manila Water, the water concessionaire company under the Ayala Corporation due to its alleged onerous contract with the government. — (from the report of Rosalie Coz) /mbmf

DTI warns establishments manipulating face mask prices

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 15, 2020

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) warned establishments manipulating face mask prices amid high demand due to the high activity in Taal Volcano.

DTI Usec. Ruth Castelo said that if proven guilty of price manipulation, the establishment would have to pay a penalty up to P2 million.

This is aside from a possible suspension or revocation of their business permit.

“Profiteering is an illegal act of price manipulation under the price act, ranging from 5,000 pesos to 2 million pesos. When found to really committed profiteering, we can impose the highest penalty of 2 million,” she said.

There are 12 medical supplies stores out of the 17 inspected establishments in Bambang, Manila that are facing complaints for violating the Price Act.

The complaint is for selling overpriced surgical face masks and N95 masks.

READ: DOH orders price control on medical supplies in areas affected by Taal eruption

The Department of Health (DOH) implemented price freeze on essential medicines and medical supplies in areas affected by the Taal eruption.

Authorities also advise the public to immediately report stores and establishments that are manipulating their prices through DTI hotline: 1-384.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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