Manila Water faces P1.13 billion in penalties over supply crisis

Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 24 2019 09:23 AM | Updated as of Apr 24 2019 10:04 AM

Residents in Brgy. San Juan in Mandaluyong City line up to get their share during the distribution of water led by the local government amid a water shortage in parts of Metro Manila on March 15, 2019. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- Manila Water Co was penalized a total P1.13 billion over a supply shortage that affected tens of thousands in the capital's east zone, regulators said Wednesday.

The penalties include a P534 million fine and a P600 million fund to develop a new water source. This will be on top of a "self-imposed" P500 million plan to provide financial relief to customers, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System said in a statement.

The MWSS said its board unanimously approved the penalties on Ayala-led Manila Water for failure to comply with its concession agreement with the government.

Manila Water will abide by the MWSS decision and will hold itself accountable "inability to provide our consumers with the usual uninterrupted water service," said its president and CEO, Ferdinand dela Cruz.

The company, however, is "not the root cause" of the inadequacy of raw water supply at Angat Dam, Manila Water said.

Based on the concession agreement, the development of new water sources is "ultimately the responsibility of MWSS," dela Cruz said.

"We reaffirm our commitment to work closely with MWSS to address the remaining water supply deficit. We continue to seek understanding from our consumers as we fine-tune our operations to spread the still limited water supply across our customer base," he said.