Water firms cheat public

Fools’ row Water services in Metro Manila do not impress the President who said the private concessionaires have been hoodwinking consumers.

Water concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad have been “duping” consumers for a long time since both do not have water treatment facilities but collect fees for these through the monthly bills.

Actually when Singapore was rehabilitating its water ways, it took them about 10 years

In an exclusive pre-State of the Nation Address interview with the Daily Tribune, President Rodrigo Duterte said that the public can even sue both private firms for “plunder” since they have been collecting fees for services that they do not provide.

“There are several buildings along Pasig River, fronting it and back, we have to ask everybody to provide a new system of sewerage so that they can collect the water and go to big pipes that would run to the water treatment facilities,” Mr. Duterte said.

He noted that this is a critical need since even water from the canals will go there.

The President, however, conceded it may take time for the country to have an efficient system to clean and recycle water which, in turn, is crucial in the rehabilitation of waterways.
“Actually when Singapore was rehabilitating its water ways, it took them about 10 years…” he said.

“We may have to turn Greater Manila upside down,” he added.

“The end game there is that they (water) would go… the lower level of the topography and join marine life there… so I would say that, I’m not the one… you have to give a President something like 10 years to do this. All the improvements that can (be done),… Mr. Duterte added.

The President said that Congress and local governments have started to provide help in cleaning up the water system.

“They have started to require buildings and restaurants to connect to a pipe there that will go to a water treatment system,” he said.

Mr. Duterte cited as example, the water treatment scheme in advanced countries like Canada where toilet water are recycled to something which can be safe to drink.

“I went there and they asked me to drink but I refused. All of these water that we collect from the bathrooms and everything goes to one big lake and you can just scoop water there and drink,” the President said.

Damocles sword hangs
The President earlier threatened to fire officials of state regulator Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and terminate the contracts of the two water concessionaires due to the poor water service mainly in Metro Manila.

Mr. Duterte met with officials of the state regulator and the water firms where presidential spokesman Salvador Panel said the Chief Executive was “obviously outraged.”

“In a stern message delivered without even once looking at the officials, the obviously outraged President threatened to fire the MWSS officials and terminate the concessionaires’ contracts,” Panelo said.

“The meeting which was more of a presidential monologue lasting for about 40 minutes, was abruptly ended by the President by ordering the officials to submit a report on the water shortage after which he will decide whether heads will roll or whether the contracts of the concessionaires will be terminated,” he added.

Excruciating wait Pasig City residents form a queue to have their containers filled with water from a firetruck as water service fell short in the area. YUMMIE DINGDING

Only excuses
The livid President refused to listen to their explanations tagging them as “just plain excuses” for neglecting their jobs to provide water services in Metro Manila.

The Chief Executive told them he was not going to listen to their explanation as to why there was a water shortage as such would be just plain excuses. They simply did not do their job.

Moreover, Panelo said the officials knew of the problem leading to the disruption of water flow but “they did not resolve to prevent it from happening.”