Wa­ter rate in­crease

Tempo - - News - Fran­cis N. To­lentino

WA­TER rates in­crease greeted Metro Manila con­sumers at the start of 2019. Along with the loud bangs and booms of the new year was a pub­lic clamor to sus­pend the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Metropoli­tan Water­works and Sew­er­age Sys­tem (MWSS) res­o­lu­tion which al­lowed wa­ter con­ces­sion­aires Mayni­lad and Manila Wa­ter to in­crease wa­ter charges. For the or­di­nary city dweller now bur­dened by the soar­ing prices of prime com­modi­ties, this added ex­pense to wa­ter is surely un­ac­cept­able.

It may be re­called that the MWSS ap­proved the pe­ti­tion of Mayni­lad Wa­ter Ser­vices, Inc., and Manila Wa­ter Co., Inc to charge ad­di­tional ₱0.64 per cu­bic me­ter and ₱1.48 per cu­bicme­ter, re­spec­tively, be­gin­ning Jan­uary 1, 2019. This in­crease trans­lates to about ₱3.00 to ₱5.00 monthly in­crease in the wa­ter bills of con­sumers who use up to a min­i­mum of 10 cu­bic me­ters per month. Manila Wa­ter pro­vides wa­ter ser­vices to ap­prox­i­mately six mil­lion peo­ple in the east­ern part of Metro Manila, while Mayni­lad caters to the wa­ter needs of those in the western part of the Metro. These pri­vate com­pa­nies are able to pro­vide wa­ter ser­vices to res­i­dents of Metro Manila by virtue of a con­ces­sion agree­ment with the Metropoli­tan Water­works and Sew­er­age Sys­tem.

In light of the pub­lic’s op­po­si­tion to the ques­tion­able wa­ter rate in­crease, it is per­haps time to re­visit the con­ces­sion con­tract en­tered by MWSS with Mayni­lad and Manila Wa­ter in or­derto de­ter­mine whether con­sumers’ in­ter­ests are guar­an­teed and bal­anced with the in­ter­ests of the two pri­vate com­pa­nies. MWSS should sus­pend the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the wa­ter rate hike and re-as­sess the premises upon which the wa­ter con­ces­sion­aires’ pe­ti­tion for in­crease was granted.

As was men­tioned, the surg­ing prices of ba­sic com­modi­ties are al­ready sad­dling the peo­ple. They can­not be sad­dled them even more with added strains in wa­ter ex­penses.

I reit­er­ate my hum­ble propo­si­tion for the cre­ation of a Depart­ment of Wa­ter Re­sources Man­age­ment that will not only safe­guard wa­ter sources in the coun­try but as well as en­sure eco­nom­i­cal and ef­fi­cient wa­ter ser­vices in part­ner­ship with the MWSS and the LWUA. As wa­ter is a pri­mary com­mod­ity that house­holds and in­dus­tries uti­lize, pol­icy de­ci­sions should be for­mu­lated con­sid­er­ing fore­most its per­ceived im­pacts on the lives of the peo­ple.

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