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Manila Water promotes development

Manila Water Co. Inc., the concessionaire for the east zone of Metro Manila, committed to stimulate local and national development through various social development programs. The company continues to improve the water and wastewater infrastructure in 23 cities and towns in its concession area to make them more livable and attractive to both local and foreign investors. Manila Water does not only focus on commercial areas and business districts, but also endeavors to drive economic growth in the entire east zone, by creating an ideal environment where residents live contentedly and businesses thrive. Manila Water also supports the small-and-medium scale enterprises as well as community-based opportunities that are aligned with business goals.

Service improvement

Manila Water spent P9.1 billion to further improve the level of service enjoyed by Metro Manila east zone customers, based on the company’s 2011 sustainability report. Its capital expenditures were anchored on two key components: reliability and expansion.  For the company, reliability means ensuring round-the-clock service, seven days a week, regardless of calamities and disasters. The company’s expansion program, meanwhile, sees to it that water and wastewater services are available to more people by laying out new pipes and putting up more facilities.

Support to SMEs

The company supports small and medium enterprises through sustainable job creation from various civil and construction works. Its policies call for a minimum allotment of 20 percent of the approved budget for SME contracts.  Contractors are authorized to negotiate with the SMEs, using the lowest bid price or the prevailing market price as benchmark. Moreover, the company provides SMEs with additional privileges granted under relevant laws, performance surety bond, shorter terms of payment and loan assistance. Manila Water requires that imported materials be coursed through local distributors not only because of the need to ensure after sales support, but also to help small businesses.

Sustainable livelihood

Beyond the provision of start-up funds for small businesses, Manila Water opens up livelihood opportunities for community-based cooperatives by including them in its supply chain. Residents within the east zone are asked to fabricate products and provide services that are required in Manila Water operations and are paid for by the company at competitive rates. Through this approach, the company’s ’’Kabuhayan Para Sa Barangay’’ becomes more sustainable than a typical micro-financing program. Over the years, Manila Water has seen its KPSB cooperatives grow into stable businesses and expand their operations to include other services and product offerings. More than 1,092 families now have better income to sustain their day-to-day needs because of the KPSB program. In 2011, Manila Water granted P4.1 million worth of job orders for the fabrication of meter protectors and bollards, installation of ‘Lingap Eskwela’ facilities, making of corporate giveaways, carwash and printing services to the eight cooperatives under the KPSB.

Water provision to the poor

Manila Water, in its bid to strengthen its presence in the water and wastewater sector, committed to help build more communities and improve the quality of life of low-income families by giving them access to clean, potable and affordable water. The company said it would also lower the barriers to having a regular water service connection by providing flexible payment options to customers in marginalized communities and by partnering with donor agencies which could subsidize connection charges. Manila Water said while it looks after the urban poor, it does not lose sight of the rest of its customer base. The company said it would ensure that its level of service was able to keep up with the heightened expectations and demands of all customers.

Water education

Moving forward, Manila Water aims to improve the Lakbayan program as its main vehicle to promote stakeholder awareness on the wise use of water and the need for proper wastewater management. The company said to make the program more dynamic and holistic, it would transform the existing Lakbayan Center into a one-stop educational center by installing interactive game booths, a kiddie arts and crafts corner, and a reading nook where books and magazines about the environment would be displayed for everyone’s reading pleasure. The tour itineraries will also take on a different approach as the program aims to increase its exposure to the communities by going to selected schools, barangays, clubs and LGUs.

Environmental protection

Manila Water said it would institutionalize an advocacy campaign that focuses on raising public awareness on important environmental issues such as watershed management and tree planting, sewerage and septage management and proper solid wastes segregation and disposal. This will be in partnership with multi-stakeholders for the program’s wider reach and greater impact on the environment. The company will also boost its drive to reforest and manage the watersheds that are critical to Metro Manila’s water supply and strengthen its Climate Change adaptation programs to ensure that its facilities are climate-resilient and its service uninterrupted at all times.
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