Imee: Manila Water, Maynilad Not Yet Off The Hook

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Senator Imee Marcos has started moves in the Upper House to investigate the water concession contracts and accomplishment records of Manila Water and Maynilad Water Services.

Marcos filed Senate Resolution 259 on Tuesday to examine which provisions in the original and extended concession agreements were contrary to government interests and why the water companies failed to meet their public service obligations stated in the contracts.

The water companies continue to draw the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte, even after they backed down from claiming more than P10 billion in business indemnities from his government and insisting on water rate hikes in January.

“Itutuloy pa rin ni PRRD ang laban sa di makatarungang kontrata hinggil sa ating tubig! Kung natalo sila agad sa Round One, tuluyan pang titiklop ang mga mapagsamantala sa mga susunod na kaso,” Marcos said.

“Wala naman talagang legacy na napapatunayan itong Manila Water at Maynilad kahit na magtatapos na yung 20-year deadline na naibigay sa kanila para i-ensure ang 24-hour suplay ng tubig sa Metro Manila at karatig probinsiya,” Marcos added.

Water concession agreements required both companies to ensure an uninterrupted supply of drinking-quality water “not later than June 30, 2000,” or three years after the government privatized water services.

However, daily water interruptions since October have become “the rule rather than the exception,” Marcos said.

Marcos also called out the apparent “social inequality” in water rationing schedules imposed by Manila Water and Maynilad.

Many exclusive residential villages in Metro Manila have only four-hour interruptions starting late at night, while lower-income areas in Quezon City, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Manila, and the neighboring cities of Bacoor and Imus in Cavite have 19-hour to 21-hour interruptions that run through the day, Marcos noted.

By their own admission, Manila Water and Maynilad have also failed to install adequate sewage treatment systems, causing 86 percent of wastewater to continue spilling untreated into rivers and bays, Marcos said.

Senate Resolution 259’s inquiry in aid of legislation also seeks to better craft concession agreements in the future, Marcos added.