By Mario Casayuran
Senator Richard J. Gordon blamed Saturday the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for failing its role as regulator on the immediate need for increased inflow of water to millions of water consumers in the Metro Manila area this year.
Knowing the declining flow of water in the dams because of big demands, MWSS should have initiated measures, among others, to tap waters from Angat Dam to La Mesa Dam and averted the current water shortage problem, Gordon explained.
Inadequacies of water concessionaires should have been immediately addressed or replaced as extreme measures, he added.
He also chided reelectionist Senator Grace Poe for not having foreseen this problem as chairwoman of the Senate public services committee.
‘’There is ineptitude. There is no water shortage,’’ he added.
Manila Water, one of the water concessionaires operating south of Manila, gets its water from the ‘’drying’’ La Mesa dam while Maynilad, the other concessionaire, get its water supply from Angat dam whose water level is still above the critical level.
On the directive of President Duterte calling for a 150-day water supply from Angat dam, MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco said this is not doable.
To this, Gordon said there is an apparent disconnect in the management of government agencies or flow of opinions to the President.
Gordon, likewise, stressed the need for government to begin in earnest the construction of the Kaliwa Dam in the vicinity of Antipolo as another water supply source.
Under a proposed Private Public Partnership (PPP) during the Aquino administration, construction of the Kaliwa Dam should have started way back in 2014 but this was stopped because of election ban. Had the planned construction schedule not stopped, the dam should have been completed in 2022.
Now China comes in with an Official Development Assistance (ODA) with the Filipino people paying for the Kaliwa Dam project.
‘’It depends on the terms (of the ODA). We have so many loans from China,’’ he stressed.
He asked aloud on the interest on projects funded by China.
Asked during a DWIZ radio interview, Gordon said he wants construction firms from other countries to participate in the public bidding for the project and not cornered by Chinese firms alone.