Manila Water fined more than PHP1 billion by government over water crisis

Manila Water will — literally — be made to pay for the water shortage that Filipinos are still experiencing.

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) today announced that they had slapped a fine on Manila Water amounting to PHP1.134 billion (US$21.712 million) for its failure to supply enough water to its clients, who are residents of Manila’s east zone and the Rizal province.

A portion of the amount, PHP600 million (US$11.488 million), will be used by the government to create a new source of waterABS-CBN News reported. The rest of the amount is the penalty itself.

MWSS said in a statement that the penalty was imposed on Manila Water after it failed to abide by the terms of their contract with the government, CNN Philippines reported.

According to MWSS, Manila Water failed to comply with the contract’s Article 10, Section 10.4, which stated that if the latter is unable to provide water for more than 60 days, the MWSS has the right to slap them with monetary penalties.

In a statement also released today, Manila Water said that they will abide by the MWSS’ decision to penalize them. However, the company said it was not their fault that a water shortage is taking place.

“While we are not the root cause for the inadequacy of the raw water supply coming from the Angat Dam which we are mandated to treat and distribute, Manila Water… hold ourselves accountable for our inability to provide our consumers with the usual uninterrupted water service,” said the company’s president and chief executive officer Ferdinand dela Cruz.

Even the MWSS doesn’t appear to fully accept the responsibility for what has happened. In their statement, its administrator Reynaldo Velasco said that the agency merely inherited the problem and that they have only assumed office in February 2017. He said that the problem was an “eye opener” for them and that the MWSS is trying to catch up, GMA News reported.

At present, the water shortage issue hasn’t been fully resolved. Certain places such as Binangonan, Angono, and Antipolo in Rizal and Taguig in Metro Manila experienced water interruption for as long as 18 hours yesterday, according to advisories posted by Manila Water on its Facebook account.

As many as 1.2 million households have been affected by the water shortage, which started on March 7. President Rodrigo Duterte said that the water shortage was an artificial crisis created by some people so they can charge higher rates to consumers.

This article, Manila Water fined more than PHP1 billion by government over water crisis, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!