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Privatization blamed for water supply woes; gov’t urged to take over water utilities

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By Ellson Quismorio

Privatization is the culprit of the massive water service interruptions being felt across Metro Manila and neighboring provinces, militant Makabayan Bloc congressmen claimed on Monday.

Opposition Congressman Ariel Casilao (Photo courtesy of 17congress / MANILA BULLETIN)

Opposition Congressman Ariel Casilao (Photo courtesy of 17congress / MANILA BULLETIN)

According to Anakpawis Party-List Rep. Ariel Casilao, the privatization of water utilities have led to “super profits” on the part of concessionaires despite the “deteriorating quality of service” they have offered.

The Ayala-controlled Manila Water, which serves Metro Manila’s east zone, collected P6.5 billion and P6.8 billion profits in 2017 and 2018, respectively, “but still failed to serve its [clients] with improved quality,” he said.

“The quality of their service should be proportionate [to] their profits,” Casilao added.

He prodded the Duterte government to carry out a thorough evaluation of the private concessionaires’ infrastructure amid the firms’ habitual blaming of low water levels for its sources for the shortages.

“This should also serve as basis for a possible amendment on their respective concession agreements,” noted the leftist solon.

Casilao’s colleague, Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. Carlos Zarate, said they continued to receive reports of atrocious water service in some barangays in Mandaluyong City.

“They are getting two hours worth of weak water supply after a week of not having water at all,” said the lawyer-solon.

“There is no water security under privatization and this will get worse unless the government acts now. We have always asserted that privatization is wrong,” Zarate said.

“We must abandon privatization and government should take over these water utilities to ensure not just water security but also transparency and accountability,” he stressed.

Echoing this, Casilao said the persisting water supply problem in the metropolis is enough basis to totally re-nationalize and re-municipalize the privatized water services across the country.

“Failing to do so puts the people into a regressed standard of living, due to water inaccessibility,” he pointed out.

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