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Manila Water hindi na sisingilin ang consumers para sa buwan ng March

Solon lauds Manila Water's voluntary bill waiver program
By Filane Mikee Cervantes
MANILA -- A senator on Tuesday welcomed the "voluntary and one-time bill waiver" program of east zone concessionaire Manila Water as a "big win for ordinary paying consumers".

In a statement, Senator Risa Hontiveros said the company's voluntary one-time waiver scheme on minimum charges in March to be reflected in the April bill would "ease the inconvenience" of customers, who were affected by massive water service interruptions.

"This is certainly a big victory for consumers. But we must not stop here. There is more that needs to be done in order to prevent this crisis from happening again," Hontiveros said.

"I hope this development will serve as a stepping stone as we thoroughly scrutinize the concession agreements entered into by our government with private water companies and revisit the government's overall privatization policy of public utilities, such as water," she added.

Hontiveros urged Manila Water to also properly compensate public hospitals affected by the water supply shortage.

"In the same spirit and principle that guided them in waiving its water fees for the month of April as a form of compensation to consumers, I call on Manila Water to immediately reimburse the said public hospitals and compensate them for the public health risks their patients were exposed to because of the water crisis," she said.

"It must make good on its promise to compensate all those who were severely affected by the water crisis and help restore consumer trust and confidence," she added.

Hontiveros cited Department of Health data showing that six public hospitals suffered total losses amounting to PHP4.116 million amid the water supply problem.

These hospitals include the Rizal Medical Center, Quirino Memorial Medical Center, National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), National Center for Mental Health, East Avenue Medical Center and the Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center.

Customers of the East Zone, from low-income families to commercial and industrial establishments, suffered major inconveniences because of the unprecedented water shortage that began March 6 with the implementation of the scheduled water service interruption scheme to refill the 28 network reservoirs.

Manila Water president and chief executive officer Ferdinand dela Cruz said all customers will have their minimum charge waived, while customers in barangays that experienced absolutely no water service for at least seven continuous or broken days within March 6-31 will not be charged for their March bills.

The minimum charge represents 10 cubic meters covering water, environmental and sewer charges. The typical minimum charge ranges from PHP76 per month for lifeline or low-consuming customers to PHP656 for industrial customers.

The Senate committee on public services, chaired by Senator Grace Poe, is set to release a preliminary report containing recommendations on the water supply shortage plaguing Metro Manila and parts of Rizal after its conduct of a five-hour long hearing last week.

Poe said her committee would recommend the revamp at the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and press Manila Water to compensate consumers affected by massive water interruptions.

The panel’s report would also touch on who should compose the MWSS as the industry requires expertise of civil engineers, finance and recognized labor leaders as stated in the MWSS Charter. (PNA)

Manila Water hindi na sisingilin ang consumers para sa buwan ng March Manila Water hindi na sisingilin ang consumers para sa buwan ng March Reviewed by AsianPolicy.Press on 8:30:00 AM Rating: 5

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