'Inefficiency, mismanagement' caused water crisis, Palace says
Patricia Lourdes Viray (Philstar.com) - March 18, 2019 - 1:33pm

MANILA, Philippines — As water has reportedly been restored to 80 percent of the customers of concessionaire Manila Water, Malacañang reiterated that the water shortage in the capital was brought about by mismanagement.

"It's pure inefficiency, mismanagement on the part of Manila Water," presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Monday.

Customers of the Ayala-led water service provider have been experiencing water shortage for more than a week, pushing the Senate and the House of Representatives to hold separate inquiries into the matter.

Manila Water has said the shortage was made worse by consumers who collected water in response to the service interruptions, increasing demand further. MWSS has said there is a lack of new water sources because construction on proposed dams had been delayed.

As of Friday, Manila Water reported that it has restored supply to 80 percent of its customers after imposing a rotational water supply scheme.

"They were saying that the only places where there is problem in the water supply are those in the upper areas. They mentioned certain areas — Quezon City, Pasig areas that's why there's only 10 percent left," Panelo said.

'No need for Department of Water'

The Malacañang mouthpiece also said that there is no need for the establishment of a Department of Water, which the Metropolitan Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System has been proposing.

"I don't think there is a need. The problem now has been solved already. It's a very simple problem that they created on their own and they provided the solution," Panelo said.

In a House committee hearing on Monday, MWSS chief regulator Patrick Ty mentioned that they have been requesting for the creation of a Department of Water.

Ty pointed out that under the concession agreement, the MWSS Regulatory Office does not have the authority to impose fines and penalties.

"That is why the MWSS has been repeatedly requesting Congress petitioning for Department of Water and a water regulatory commission to allow the imposing of these dines and penalties but unfortunately, this is still pending in Congress," Ty said.

The MWSS chief regulator later on clarified that the supposed penalty for Manila Water could be deducted from their costs in delivering service.

Meanwhile, Manila Water president and CEO Ferdinand dela Cruz has taken responsibility for the water service interruption that their customers in the east concession zone experienced the past weeks.

"I am holding myself fully accountable for the sudden drop in our service levels to your constituents whom we have consistently served over the past 21 years with 24/7 water availability and sufficient pressure," Dela Cruz said in a House committee hearing on Monday.

Under the concessionaire agreement, Manila Water has violated its commitment to provide uninterrupted water supply to their customers.

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