MANILA -- The head of Manila Water said Monday that he was ready to resign over a supply shortage that has affected tens of thousands, adding that restoring service was his priority.
The concessionaire, which services the capital's east zone, was required in 1997 to build water treatment facilities, said Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza.
Manila Water, however, will only "meet 99 percent of waste water coverage" by 2037, the year its contract ends with the government, said company president and CEO Ferdinand dela Cruz.
Atienza said this was not what the government and Manila Water agreed on.
"Ang kontrata, dapat noong nagpirmahan, ginawa na ninyo sapagkat nangongolekta kayo sa consumers. Ipinangutang nyo pa yan sa World Bank, Asian Development Bank at international funding institutions," he said during a legislative inquiry into the crisis.
(Under the contract, you should have done that when the agreement was signed because you collect fees from consumers. You even got loans from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and international funding institutions.)
"Don't you find it unfair, unjust and even illegal na the 2 water concessionaires are allowed to move the deadline?" he added.
The lawmaker then told Dela Cruz, "You have apologized. When are you resigning? Are you thinking of resigning for failing the Filipino people in our need for water?"
"As I've said, I'm taking full accountability for what has happened and wherever that leads me to, I am taking accountability for that action," said Dela Cruz.
"I am prepared to resign for failing the customers, but my focus right now, your honor is to restore the service even if it's a slow process," he added.
Atienza also asked MWSS Chief Regulator Patrick Ty if he was willing to step down from his post, to which the official replied, "We don't run from problems, we want to face this."
"We have inherited this problem and we are fixing this already and we are up to the challenge," he said.
Manila Water "in the next 24 to 48 hours" will submit a tally of the fees it collected from consumers, expenses for water facilities, and loans, said Dela Cruz.