As water companies began their rotational water interruptions on Thursday due to low water levels in Angat Dam, two senators sought for reviews of their concession agreements with the government.
Maynilad and Manila Water earlier announced the interruptions affecting nearly 15-million customers in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, but Senator Imee Marcos said the concessionaires should be held accountable for the water supply shortage seen to last through the holiday season up to next year.
“Poor families and small businesses, such as small eateries, car washes, and laundry shops that heavily rely on water daily, would suffer,” Marcos said in a statement.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, meanwhile, said he doesn’t believe a water shortage exists, but will suggest to President Rodrigo Duterte, his erstwhile boss, to review the concession agreement of the water firms.
“Please don’t pass on the burden to our countrymen. You entered this business, you can solve this situation. Don’t sign contracts when you can’t comply with supplying water to us,” Go said.
In May, the President questioned the concession agreement with a water company, which he did not identify, as it bound the government to a deal until 2070.
In March, President Duterte blasted officials of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System along with Manila Water and Maynilad over the water shortage gripping parts of Metro Manila and Rizal province at the peak of summer.
Marcos noted this is the second time a water supply crisis hit Metro Manila and nearby provinces this year.
“President Duterte has already threatened to terminate the concession agreements in March due to their inefficiencies, but they still have not provided any solution to the water problem. These firms are aware of the water supply shortage. So, why should the people shoulder this burden?,” she said.
Meanwhile, Go said: “I will suggest to the President to review the contracts that are not favorable to our countrymen.”
Duterte claimed that water officials knew about the problem leading to the shortage but did not resolve it or prevent it from happening.
Marcos said customers of Maynilad and Manila Water in the cities of Mandaluyong, Manila, Marikina, Navotas, Muntinlupa, Malabon, Makati, Las Piñas, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Parañaque, Pasay, and Quezon City would be hit by the shortage, along with those in the provinces of Rizal, Cavite, and Bulacan.