Water crisis redux
Declare privatization of water utilities a failure – Anakpawis
Manila, Philippines – Amid reported water interruptions in Metro Manila, affecting around 12 million subscribers of Maynilad and Manila Water, the Anakpawis Party-list demanded the Duterte government to declare the policy of privatization of water utilities as a big failure and work about repealing the Republic Act 8041 Water Crisis Act and renationalize the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).
“The promise of better service by private concessionaires is totally smashed by the recurring water crisis affecting millions of Filipinos in Metro Manila. Amid deteriorating service, they had the gall to rate hikes, which they use for their system’s expansion, on top of their profiteering. Thus, it is actually the people who are funding the system and essentially they are corporate parasites,” former Anakpawis Party-list lawmaker Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao said in a press statement.
He added that these private profiteers are so used to blaming the water levels in Angat dam, as if their system is iron-clad or fully efficient. They even failed to anticipate the water requirements early this year that exposed their incompetencies in collusion with the MWSS, while causing mass inconvenience to consumers.
“They always scream of water shortages from the very source but they hide the fact that they raked profits amid worsening service to consumers,” he said.
The Water for the People Network claimed that 20 years of privatization since 1997 only caused water rates to hike by 500% to 760%, while private concessionaries swam over an accumulated P94.5 billion from 2000 to 2015. Amid these amount of profits, how could non-revenue or water loss still reach to 11% to 30% in 2017. In May, Manila Water boasted of its Cardona water treatment plant but it was only supplying around 50 million liters per day (MLD) of its capacity of 100 MLD, while the Maynila water treatment plant in Muntinlupa boasts of 100 MLD capacity. While as early as February, MWSS has already identified water sources from the Laguna Lake reaching to around 900 MLD.
“The script of these concessionaires and MWSS peddle false hopes but at the end it was always the people who are to suffer,” the former lawmaker said.
The decisive resolution to the water crisis is to reverse privatization and nationalized the utility under a reformed public management.
“Privatization is so passé that people in many countries, even its first implementors such as France to with the largest water system, Jakarta, Indonesia, challenged the policy and demanding for renationalization and even municipalization. MWSS operations concessioned to Maynilad and Manila Water should be taken back, accompanied with strengthening of the MWSS and strict accountability of its officials,” Casilao ended. ###