MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has been assured by his top officials of enough water supply for this year, Malacañang said Tuesday after the northern Philippines grappled with a shortage last year.
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu gave his word to Duterte during a Cabinet meeting on Monday night that there “will be no water problem” this year, Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
“What I heard last night was, they are assuring us that there will be no water problem. They are doing something about it,” Panelo said.
Cimatu, according to Panelo, inspected the Angat Dam where the Philippine capital sources nearly all of its water supply.
In March last year, taps ran dry in nearly a million Metro Manila households as the Angat Dam breached its critical level due to lack of rains.
Duterte has accused water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water of “manipulating” the water crisis, saying Filipinos were “milked by billions.”
Asked if the government could guarantee enough water supply for the succeeding years, Panelo said there are projects designed for such until the end of the President’s term.
“That goes without saying, kung walang problema ngayon, 'di ibig sabihin, pati subsequent years, kasama iyan sa kanilang mga plano. Mayroon silang mga projects doon, may 2020, 2021, 2022,” he said.
(If there is no problem now, it means that the subsequent years are included in their plans. They have projects for that, for 2020, 2021, 2022.)
Panelo made the remark even as rotational water service interruptions had hit Metro Manila since Oct. 2019.