Outsmarting the water companies
"Suddenly you have so many friends and relatives."
Filipinos are probably the smartest people in the world in dealing with problems. Take the current water shortage crisis for instance. Manila Water it was found out was sourcing its supply from Angat Dam in Bulacan where Maynilad also does. This, aside from drawing water from the La Mesa dam. Yet,water consumers of Maynilad have water from their tap while the familiar cry of “tubi…iii… g !” reverberates in Metro Manila areas being serviced by the Ayala Group’s Manila Water. In fairness, the water woes in Mandaluyong and Pasig, two of the worst-hit areas, has eased after lawmakers said they would conduct a public inquiry on the matter and President Rodrigo Duterte himself ordered the water companies to address the problem. Aghast, consumers were also outraged that their monthly payment for the basic commodity would increase. Payment for water which is not there, they wailed. “Pera-pera lang pala ang laro nitong mga profit-driven companies, ha. Sige utakan naman ang gamitin natin sa kanila,” was one feedback. It will be noted that the duopoly of the Ayalas and Manny Pangilinan who operate Manila Water and Maynilad, respectively, are the same people who own the much complained-about telco carriers of Globe and PLDT Smart. Their revenues, together, are in the billions of pesos. One of them also owns several hospitals in the Metro Manila area. Here’s where creative Pinoys showed their smart stuff. In a hospital in Ortigas, Mandaluyong, nurses were wondering why a certain patient was receiving a lot of visitors daily. He must have a lot of relatives and friends, they thought. Then it dawned on them that the patient was a kagawad or kapitan and why the whole barangay was visiting him in force. The whole barangay neighborhood was taking their hot shower in his private room at the hospital. The nurses and the janitors became suspicious when the patient kept requesting for more towels when his doctor had instructions that only a sponge bath would be given him by the nurses. The barangay captain will surely be reelected in his neighborhood but we doubt whether the hospital will admit him again even if he can afford to pay. Water consumption, plus laundry services, count for a lot in computing a hospital’s cost of operation vis-à-vis profit. A hospital is big business with so many people getting sick because of lack of clean drinking water, and water to wash plates and kitchen utensils.