"They are doing a disservice to the public, this lawmaker says."
Buhay Party-List Rep. Lito Atienza, in his most ardent advocacy, is raising anew the issue against the duopoly of the Ayalas’ Manila Water and Manny Pangilinan’s Maynilad for non-compliance of the waste water management stipulated in their contract.
Instead, Atienza said, the two conglomerates are turning Manila Bay and Laguna lake into two big cesspools worse than Boracay. Despite the continuing cleanup of Manila and Laguna de Bay, the government effort is for naught because there is no pipe to filter solid waste from going into the two bay receptacles.
“This is pure profiteering without any concern whatsoever for the welfare of the consuming public,” said Atienza who had served as Environment and Natural Resources Secretary under then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. He bewailed that the two business conglomerates had been able to get away with non-compliance of the waste water management clause for which they were awarded the contract as exclusive water distribution concessionaires.
Atienza has the distinct honor of serving Manila for three consecutive terms. It is an acknowledgement and appreciation of the people that the likes of Erap Estrada, Fred Lim, Mel Lopez, Ramon Bagatsing and even the legendary Arsenio Lacson failed to achieve.
Recalling that the rich and powerful Lopez family had sold its stake in Maynilad to Manny V. Pangilinan’s group, Lito laments that MVP and the Ayalas have since then hopped, skipped and jumped their way to the bank to rake in huge profits as exclusive water service concessionaires..
“It’s downright criminal negligence. The Ayalas and Pangilinan should and must refund millions of pesos to consumers for non compliance of the waste water management contract and now non-delivery of the basic water commodity. That’s at least P50,000 per consumer dating back to 22 years. Atienza also cited the two conglomerates’ $500-million loan from the World Bank borrowed under government sovereign guarantee. That means that if the two titan companies default on their payment on the WB loan, it would be the government and the people who will pay the amount borrowed.
“Even if I sound like a lonely voice in the wilderness, it behooves me to point out this brazen corporate greed and non-implementation of waste water management—the very ground for which the two conglomerates were awarded the contract by the government. Perhaps it’s time the government cancel their contracts and take over their operations,” suggested Atienza.
He also wondered why the rest of media do not report on this anomalous practice when they too are affected by the onerous expensive bills but non delivery of essential service. He pointed out that Manila Water and Maynilad are collecting money for wastewater management built into consumer’s’ monthly bill. That is public money these two companies parlay into their other financial projects like condominium towers and telecommunication carriers. They are amassing more wealth from public money meant for improving services they were expected to implement, Atienza alleged.
Atienza’s efforts were given due credence when the Supreme Court last Tuesday imposed a P2-billion fine on both Maynilad and Manila Water including the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System. for non-performance and delivery of their functions. He said he has asked lawyer Romulo Macalintal to get a copy of the high court ruling so together they can work on getting consumer refunds from the duopoly of the MVP group and the Ayalas.
“I know that what I said won’t endear me to the Ayalas and Pangilinan, but my primary concern are my constituents whom I am sworn to serve,” said Atienza, adding that Manila Water and Maynilad instead of complying with wastewater management in their contracts, are wasting public money and using it to increase their wealth.
Atienza at the same time warned he would also be relentless against those waiting in the wings to secure concessionaire contracts in case the two present distributors are replaced even as he urged the government to factor in an iron-clad clause for wastewater management.