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DESPITE WATER SERVICE INTERRUPTIONS

MBC keeps faith with privatization of water system

/ 07:20 PM March 25, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Makati Business Club (MBC) stands by its conviction that privatizing Metro Manila’s water service is still a better option despite the lengthy service interruptions customers of Manila Water has been suffering this month.

In a statement issued on Monday, MBC said it would be better for private companies rather than the government be in charge of providing water service to the public.

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“MBC reiterates its confidence in public-private partnerships in general and, in particular, the privatization of Manila’s water system, which is considered a model around the world,” the group said. “Our members suffered with the rest of public, from the shortage of water in our homes and our businesses. But service is indisputably better than before privatization.”

According to MBC, the government and the private sector should work hand-in-hand in finding solutions to the problem by, amon other things, utilizing new water sources and implementing efficient usage.

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“MBC recognizes that it is critical for the government, the concessionaires, and other stakeholders to develop long-term solutions for both supply and demand,” the group stressed. “MBC stands ready with other business organizations to gather business sector inputs and support for these efforts. The most important among these solutions is to prioritize the development of and streamline the approval process for new water sources, but also include more efficient usage.”

In early March, houses and commercial establishments serviced by Manila Water Co. Inc. were affected by water interruptions, allegedly due to the lowering water levels at La Mesa Dam.

However, several organizations blamed the privatization of water service, which allegedly shifted the goals of water companies from servicing people to profit-making.

Water for People Network (WPN) and Ibon Foundation previously alleged that water concessionaires still earned a lot of money even in the face of a water problem.

“Corporate management of water services has been efficient in producing profits but inefficient in ensuring cheap, safe and secure water services to millions of consumers,” Ibon Foundation’s research said, as relayed by WPN.

READ: WPN: Water concessionaires rake in billions of profits amid water crisis

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and other left-leaning groups, on the other hand, accused Manila Water of being unable to project water demands, in contrast to the expansion projects in the country and abroad.

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READ: LOOK: Bayan Muna slams Manila Water for service interruptions

Despite the issues, MBC — whose co-vice chairman, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, is also vice chairman of Manila Water — said it would support the investigation being conducted by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) into the issue.

“Makati Business Club supports the efforts that Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System, other authorities, and Manila Water Co. are taking to investigate the water shortage that occurred this month in order to alleviate the situation, take steps to avoid or limit a repeat, and determine accountability and responsibility,” the MBC said. “We are confident in the resolve of the concessionaires and regulators to make all efforts to improve reliability in the months and years ahead.” /atm

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TAGS: Makati Business Club, manila water co. inc., MWSS, water service privatization
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