Bayan Muna mulls class suit vs Manila Water over shortage

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 14 2019 04:19 PM

MANILA - Bayan Muna on Thursday said it was eyeing charges against water concessionaire Manila Water for its "negligence" that has led to the current water shortage in parts of Metro Manila.

In a statement released Thursday, Bayan Muna chair and senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares said Manila Water must be held accountable as over 1 million households are currently effected by the company's "operational adjustments."

"Malaking perwisyo at pahirap na ito sa mamamayan dahil sa kapalpakan at pagkaganid ng Manila Water. Dapat managot sila dito. Inaaral na namin ang pagsasampa ng kaso," Colmenares said. 

(These water interruptions have caused so much inconvenience to consumers because of Manila Water's mistakes and greed. We're now looking into possible cases against the company.)

Colmenares revealed some Manila Water consumers have sought their group's legal assistance after they suffered productivity and revenue losses. 

"Affected consumers have come to us for legal remedy and we are now studying a class suit to be filed against Manila Water for the losses suffered by small businesses and the hardships suffered by poor families," said Colmenares.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate, meanwhile, pointed to the "privatization" of water service as the culprit behind the water supply woes. 

"This so-called 'water crisis' will not be solved with the government continuing its privatization policy that caters mainly to the profit-seeking big business," the lawmaker said, as he suggested a "nationalization of the water industry."

The Senate is set to begin an inquiry into the cause of Manila Water's service interruptions next week. It said Wednesday that supply outages may linger in the next three months in parts of Metro Manila. 

Manila Water has attributed the problem to increased demand, lack of rains, the declining supply at the La Mesa Dam, its emergency resource, and delays in infrastructure projects supposed to boost supply.