MANILA, Philippines – Households are likely to suffer from another water rate hike as the construction of the Kaliwa Dam in Infanta, Quezon is set to begin.
According to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), the Philippines will enter into a loan project with China to fund the construction of the P12.1B dam project.
The fund will come from the Export and Import Bank of China while the Chinese Energy Engineering Group will serve as contractor of the project.
The loan will be shouldered by water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water which the two will eventually collect from their respective clients.
The MWSS, however, clarified that the increase will not be done abruptly.
“Pero ito naman ay will be spread over 20 years. So ito siguro baka wala pang P10 a month ang equivalent niyan sa household over the next 5 years so hindi masyadong apektado niyan ang rate,” explained MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco.
But a group of consumers oppose the plan of burdening the costumers with the loan obligations.
They argue that the government should be the one to shoulder the loan payment to ease the burden of consumers.
“Kasi kung utang ng gobyerno, ang gobyerno ang magbabayad. Somewhere siguro in the form of taxes pero sa consumer zero. Kapag kase ang Maynilad at Manila Water ang magbabayad ng utang ipapasa sa atin yan,” argued Laban Konsyumer President Vic Dimagiba.
The consumer group will appeal for another round of talk with MWSS to further review the project plan.
But to MWSS, the construction of the Kaliwa Dam is highly necessary and must be executed at the soonest possible time because Angat Dam can no longer suffice the needed supply of the growing population of consumers in Metro Manila.
Once the project is done, the MWSS will be able to supply up to 600 million liters of water a day in Metro Manila.
Based on the original plan, the Kaliwa Dam is expected to be erected in five years-time. However, they MWSS targets to complete its construction until 2020 before the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mon Jocson)