PENALTIES SOUGHT | Groups file petition at MWSS to penalize Manila Water for water crisis

3 weeks ago

MARCH 25, 2019 — Several groups formally handed on Monday their petition to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS)asking penalties against Manila Water for the recent water interruptions in Metro Manila.

Progressive groups Bayan, Bayan Muna and east zone customers said Manila Water violated its concession agreement when it failed to supply water continuously this month.

As penalties, the groups recommend a public hearing on their proposed suspension of basic fees for the interrupted period this month and possible fee hikes and rebates.

“Gusto namin simulan ang proseso ng accountability at pagpapataw ng penalties.Gusto namin magkaroon ng paraan para mabayaran ang mga consumer na naperwisyo at gumastos nang malaki,” Bayan Secretary General Renato Reyes said.

Among the affected consumers was Jose Gillego, who urgently needed water for his ailing father during a waterless week in Mandaluyong.

“Yung tatay ko hindi ko nadala sa hospital para sa therapy ng tatlong beses
kasi wala rin tubig yung Poly Medix. Marami po kami gastos pati sa mineral water. Tuwing madaling araw nag-iigib din kami sa bumbero para makakuha lang ng tubig,” he said.

The MWSS said it will study the proposed penalities, but stressed that it has no authority to adjust the water bills.

The water regulator said Manila Water may be forced to give rebates to consumers for two months in June if the firm is found guilty of violating its concession agreement.

Manila Water still has five days to explain why it should not be penalized.

“Hindi pa masasabi na penalized kasi hindi pa sila nakakasagot. We have to give them due process. We based our notice of violation on available records we have including press statements and Senate proceedings,” MWSS Chief Regulator Patrick Ty said.