‘Unwarranted’ charges on water services bucked
TACLOBAN Union of Barangay Officials and Alliance of Water Concessionaires are warning residents of Tacloban City against groundless charges with the entry of Manila Water in their area: being charged with rates in Metro Manila.
The warning was issued Friday after Manila Water took over Leyte Metropolitan Water District.
Metro Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System had underlined the past expenses and expenditures of Manila Water for operations done outside their concession areas in Metro Manila.
Last 2013, MWSS rejected a total of P85.7 million in media and other expenses proposed by Manila Water for their expansion areas outside Metro Manila.
Expenses like these, outside concession areas, are illegal, the two groups said.
In Manila Water’s website, they have ongoing projects outside Metro Manila particularly Laguna, Boracay, Clark, Cebu and Zamboanga.
Manila Water currently provides water and waste water services for the East Zone of Metro Manila, which covers Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Pateros, San Juan, Taguig, Marikina, Manila, Quezon City and Rizal.
TUBO and ALWACON are crying out that this is indeed a clear violation of the concession agreement between Manila Water and MWSS.
To charge project costs, project development studies, travel expenses, and other related expenses like media placements and advertising as part of recoverable expenses is a clear violation by Manila Water of their concession agreement with MWSS, the two groups said.
They said: “If Manila Water is doing this to its Metro Manila costumers, what will stop them from doing this to its Tacloban costumers? Why will we be paying more for water so we can pay the bill of their expansion projects in Boracay and Clark or even outside the country?
“Why would the consumers from Tacloban spend for services intended for costumers of other areas?”
The concession agreement with Manila Water requires that its earnings from concession areas should be used only in their respective areas, and stops them from using the said funds in other parts of the country and elsewhere in the world.
Despite the agreement, Manila Water announced it would be borrowing P650 million to fund its expansion program in Boracay.
They have loaned a total P4 billion to fund their expansion in Boracay and other projects in Laguna, Clark and Cebu, the groups said in their statement.
They added: “This juggling of funds is unfair, unjust and should be acted upon by the national government regulators.
“Furthermore, it should be blocked by the LMWD and most importantly the Local Government Units.
“With this, LMWD should be more careful and thoroughly review its recent dealing with Manila Water, if it is to uphold its mandate and protect its consumers and concessionaires from the abovementioned wrongful effects.”