In the aftermath of Severe Tropical Storm ‘Paeng’ whose torrential rain led to monstrous floods in all but one of the regions in the country, water is a subject that those adversely affected by the extreme weather disturbance would rather not talk about.
But it’s a valid topic nonetheless, since our people need to be protected from severe flooding that causes death and destruction and huge losses in agriculture, not to mention the displacement of thousands from their homes.
Amid the rains that led to water, water everywhere but in some places, not a drop of water from household faucets, we should be glad that, at least in Metro Manila, we can rely on efficient water services for our daily needs.
Recent news reports indicate that East Zone concessionaire Manila Water Company is seeking a rate increase starting January 2023 for the next six years. The rate hike is said to augment the company’s P181 billion for capital and operating investments, beginning 2023 to 2027.
At the rate the inflation is going through the roof, the petition for a rate increase is not unexpected, perhaps even inevitable.
The water concessionaire emphasized that the rate adjustment would be used to build more water sources and wastewater facilities, as well as fulfill its service improvement plan to continuously meet its service obligations to supply water 24/7 to more than 7.4 million residents in its concession area.
Those are valid reasons for the rate hike petition, from where we sit. After all, the water concessionaire should be able to maintain its uninterrupted 24/7 water supply with adequate pressure (something the West Zone concessionaire is said to be lacking) and carry out its programs for water security both in the medium- to long-term.
The inflation outlook for the remainder of the year, said National Statistician Dennis Mapa, is not so good, given the discernible trend in food prices.
We therefore need to brace ourselves for what’s to come. It shouldn’t come as a surprise if other business more sectors will announce price adjustments in the coming months to sustain their operations.
If the rate hike petition is granted, Manila Water customers will have continuous water supply day in and out.
What about those who don’t enjoy the 24/7 service? Aren’t you spending more? As they say, the costliest water is having no water at all, right?
Security from scalawags
While we’re on the subject of security, it’s only proper to give credit where credit is due.
We’re talking about the efforts of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to cleanse its ranks of misfits and scalawags who give the entire institution a very bad – but surely undeserved – reputation.
Last month, six police officers who robbed and injured a sidewalk vendor in Caloocan City in April were ordered dismissed from the police service after being found guilty of administrative charges and grave misconduct.
The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) said the six officers, all police corporals, were removed after the Philippine National Police’s Internal Affairs Service (PNP-IAS) found them unfit and unworthy of the police service.
The six erring cops, who were members of the Caloocan City Police Station’s Drug Enforcement Unit, were said to have accosted the sidewalk vendor sometime in April while the latter was on his way to a fast food restaurant to buy food for his children.
The incident was recorded by closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, with the footage showing the officers as they were hitting the vendor’s head. The footage spread like wildfire on social media platforms.
As a result, the PNP Internal Affairs Service resolved to recommend the dismissal of these former police officers for being unfit and unworthy of the trust and confidence of the people.
The NCRPO has vowed to continue removing scalawags from the service, assuring the public that rogue cops would be punished.
We’re glad that the police leadership in Metro Manila is determined to rid the organization of bad elements who abuse their authority to harass, intimidate and even file trumped-up charges of possession of illegal drugs against citizens who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The motto of the PNP is “to serve and protect.”
Unfortunately, a handful in the nearly 200,000-strong police force think that their badges and uniforms entitle them to trample on the basic rights of the citizenry and do whatever they please.
That should stop, and the police leadership is taking the right step in dismissing all misfits in the organization.