HOUSE senior Deputy Minority Leader and Buhay Hayaang Yumabong (Buhay) party-list Rep. Lito Atienza has accused the two water concessionaires, Manila Water and Maynilad Water Services Inc. of being behind the continued deterioration of the Manila Bay.
“We have been saying since day one that the continued degradation of Manila Bay is due to the non-delivery of the two water concessionaires of their contractual obligation to provide waste-water treatment facilities. What is worse is they have been charging consumers for this non-existent service for the past 21 years. Their contract with the government states that they should not only be providing water service to consumers, but sewage treatment as well. They have failed to do this,” a visibly angry Atienza pointedly said during the hearing of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development chaired by Quezon City Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo.
Upon a motion by Atienza, the Committee members unanimously agreed to compel the two concessionaires to submit the following documents, namely: 1. a full accounting of their collections from consumers since 1997; 2. total amount of loans secured from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, JICA and other funding agencies in the name of the Philippine Republic; 3. report on the status of completion of the construction of waste-water treatment facilities; and 4. total money spent on the construction of facilities related to waste-water treatment.
Atienza likewise expressed alarm over news videos showing thousands of people started to swim in the bay.
“We saw thousands of adults and their children swimming in Manila Bay. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has been saying that they are cleaning the bay, but they have merely started removing the garbage and solid waste along the shores. But the waters still pose a health risk and would endanger people who make the mistake of thinking that it is safe to swim in,” Atienza added.
Castelo and committee members such as Reps. Jesulito Manalo, Bernadette Herrera Dy and Arnolfo Teves, Jr. unanimously agreed that a thorough review of the contract between the two companies and the government.