Reps. Lopez and Atienza raise points worthy of action re water mess

IN the wake of the undue suffering brought about by the lack of much-needed water supply to many, many residents, establishments and even institutions being supplied by the Manila Water Company Inc., two members of Congress raised points that are worthy of serious consideration and possibly, immediate action.

Congressman Manuel ‘Manny’ Lopez (First District, Manila), during the House hearing on the crisis,  stressed not only once, that it is about time that the prevailing ‘duopoly’ in the country’s water supply service be finally broken. This is in reference, of course, to the current system where water services are being handled by two companies -- Manila Water and Maynilad.

The other equally-important point was brought to fore by Senior Deputy Minority Leader and BUHAY Party-list Representative Lito Atienza,  who demanded the resignation of all those responsible for the mess which had caused too much misery among the affected populace.

The demand was particularly directed by Atienza to Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System chief regulator Patrick Ty and administrator Gen. Reynaldo Velasco and Ferdinand dela Cruz, chief executive officer of the Manila Water Company, Inc., who all had a hand in the week-long water shortage.

Funnily enough, Ty’s reply to Atienza was this: ‘We don’t run from problems, we want to face this. We have inherited this problem and we are fixing this already and we are up to the challenge.’

I haven’t heard of or read any answer coming from Velasco but Dela Cruz, in a televised interview, posed the question if his resignation will solve the problem. In yesterday’s Senate inquiry,  a statement he read said that he will be more than willing to resign but at the same time cited certain circumstances which are too technical for the common masses to understand.

I totally agree with Congressman Atienza that these water authorities should resign immediately for their failure to deliver water and should stop citing statistics and technical requirements for their disastrous non-performance.

‘Obviously you have failed!  Hindi naiintindihan ng tao yan, 20 million, 100 million liters. Ang naiintindihan ng tao ay yung binuksan nila ang gripo nila one day at wala nang tubig. Wala naman kayong sinabi, before that wala naman kayong ginawang action to prevent it.  Both the government and the private concessionaires have clearly failed us, a visibly-angry Atienza said during the hearing of the Committee on Metro Manila Development.

True enough, I am a journalist and yet, listening to the well-worded explanation being given left and right, I don’t find any of them easily understandable being technical and all that. How else can an ordinary Juan dela Cruz comprehend?

Talk is cheap and mere words, no matter how fancy they are, cannot be used to take a bath, brush your teeth or perform any other must-do tasks that require water.

“We have at least 144 billion cubic meters of freshwater supply not being utilized wisely every year. Of this, only an estimated 24-25 billion cubic meters are being consumed, and the rest goes to waste.

We have more than enough water if only the water managers and the two concessionaires are performing their duties. Recycling of water could be resorted to whenever there is a crisis.  But there should be no water crisis in the Philippines if we know how to enforce the law.

The concession agreement requires the two water companies to provide waste water treatment facilities, but they have not be complied with this since day one.

What they have done is collect money from the consumers for the past 21 years but no treatment plants have been installed to provide an assured clean water supply,” Atienza said, adding that these concessionaires have a constantly moving deadline within which to comply with the terms of the agreement.

He added: ‘In 2008, as Environment secretary, when we demanded that they provide these treatment facilities, they asked for an additional six years to complete it.

But after the six-year commitment, they are now moving it to 2037, which is the expiration of their extended concession agreement.

This is a big joke! By that time, they would have already collected money for the past 40 years and that’s the only time they will provide these facilities! Clearly they are holding the country hostage.  I-extend niyo kami, kung hindi wala kaming idedeliver.

What is the MWSS doing? NOTHING! Para silang mga wallflower sa gobyerno.” Agree! Totally!!

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Beauty tip -- Salmon and egg whites are excellent sources of protein which helps nourish skin and repair damage.  (Source: Dr Rosary May Canay-Diaz of Californian Bloom Aesthetic Institute and Medical Spa /4108424/4669596/09178038240/ 025053987)

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Jokjok (from Winnie Abesamis of Fairview, Quezon City) -- PEDRO: O pare, bakit nakasimangot ka na naman?/JUAN: Hay naku, pare! Nag-away na naman kami ni misis.  As usual, nag-‘historical’ na naman siya!/PEDRO: Siraulo! Baka ang ibig mong sabihin ay nag-‘hysterical?’ Heheh/JUAN: Hinde pare, ‘historical’ talaga kasi inungkat lahat ng kasalanan ko mula pa nung araw!

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