Biz group calls for ‘reckoning’ amid water crisis
MANILA, Philipines – The largest business group in the country said there should be “some form of reckoning” against Ayala’s Manila Water Company, Inc., noting that the economic impact of the water shortage cannot easily be dismissed.
In a statement, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) called for accountability amid the water shortage that has severely affected parts of Metro Manila and Rizal.
This develops a day after Manila Water president and chief executive officer Ferdinand Dela Cruz took the blame for the water crisis during a hearing at the House of Representatives.
Metro Manila’s water supply has been entrusted to two of the biggest conglomerates in the country — Manila Water Co. for the east zone and Metro Pacific’s Maynilad Water Services, Inc. for the west.
The problem only involves the customers of Manila Water. During the hearing, Patrick Ty, chief regulator of Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System, said neither concessionaire could be penalized.
He explained that the deal that privatized water services did not include provisions on “fines and penalties.”
“We sincerely hope that there will be some form of reckoning for this issue. It’s too important and critical to our people’s well-being and our economy,” said PCCI.
“Moving forward, [the] government has to make sure that there will be policies in place to first, prevent this from happening again, and second, to identify penalties for those responsible,” the group said.
The group said the water shortage did more than just inconvenience and stress Filipinos.
“Apart from disrupting our daily way of life, it has also affected productivity as many people could not go to work, school, or manage their business. Many businesses had to shut down or limit operations. Services were also disrupted. The economic impact of this shortage cannot be swept under the rug,” PCCI said.
PCCI then lauded the Duterte administration for its quick directive to make water from the Angat Dam available to all affected areas.
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