Gov't should take back water distribution, says lawmaker

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 28 2019 12:24 PM

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The government should retake water distribution from private concessionaires if they continue to fail in building sewage treatment plants, a lawmaker said Monday. 

Maynilad and Manila Water warned this month that traffic in Metro Manila would worsen if they are pushed to complete sewer projects within 5 years, after their failure to do so prompted the Supreme Court to fine them P921.5 million each. 

"They have to deliver their side of the contract. Otherwise, we urge President Duterte: make an accounting, collect what is necessary to be collected from these 2 and cancel the contract. Wala tayong pupuntahan n'yan kung iyong tubig natin ay negosyo ng iilan," Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza told radio DZMM. 

(We will go nowhere if our water is the business of a few.) 

"Utility is [the] number 1 need of our people, it cannot be in the hands of profit-oriented business... We need to take over the distribution of water once again," he added. 

Atienza, a former environment secretary, ordered Maynilad and Manila Water in 2009 to pay P29.4 million for failing to build wastewater treatment facilities. The firms waged legal battle until the fine ballooned. 

Around 20 percent of the public's water bill should go to the construction of water facilities and authorities should investigate how these funds were allocated, said Atienza, who was also former mayor of the capital. 

DZMM, October 28, 2019