Senator Koko Pimentel III on Monday strongly proposed that a thorough review of all relevant water laws and agreements be made after several parts of Metro Manila and nearby provinces experienced a minor “water crisis” caused by service interruptions from the Manila Water and Maynilad utilities.
“We may need to strengthen the provisions of our laws relating to the use of water resources to make utilities more accountable in cases of service interruptions,” the lawmaker stressed.
“Hindi pwedeng sorry at kamot ulo na lang lagi from the water utilities, then they pass the burden on the consumer and say we should conserve water. If we need to impose heavy fines or even criminal sanctions for negligence in the management of our valuable water resources, we should do so through strengthened legislation.”
“If we need to impose heavy fines or even criminal sanctions for negligence in the management of our valuable water resources, we should do so through strengthened legislation.”
Pimentel proposed a comprehensive review and revisit of rules and regulations governing water management in both metropolitan areas and in the provinces.
The Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship head stressed that for Metro Manila, there was an urgency to look into the provisions of the Concession Agreements between the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and Maynila and Manila Water, adding as well that an update to the Provincial Water Utilities Act of 1973, which governs the use of valuable resource in the countryside, was due.
“We cannot legislate water into existence if there is indeed a shortage brought about by non-human factors such as climate, so our solution is to effectively manage our valuable water resources by responsive laws. As I said, we should make utilities fully accountable for the use and management of our water because we pay for these services.”
“It’s a reality that water is not free. We get billed every month for its use, that’s why we expect accountability from our water utilities. If you open your faucet and there’s no water, someone should answer to the law for that, especially if the interruption was not announced,” Pimentel stressed.
“We should make utilities fully accountable for the use and management of our water because we pay for these services.”
A decline in levels at La Mesa Dam, an important water source for Metro Manila and nearby areas, caused service interruptions in Makati, Marikina, Pasig, Pateros, Taguig, Mandaluyong, Quezon City, Rizal, and San Juan last week.
Service interruptions are expected to continue this week, at a critical period at the onset of the summer season.
Both Manila Water and Maynila offered their apologies to the public, and vowed to advise the public of future interruptions.
“Mere advise does not produce water. Action does, and strengthened laws will push these water utilities to render better services under pain and threat of legal sanctions,” Pimentel noted.