Press Release
March 17, 2019


Consumers in Metro Manila and parts of Rizal province affected by the water shortage are becoming impatient and restless and they want immediate solutions to the deepening water crisis, Sen. Grace Poe said today.

Poe, who is scheduled to conduct a Senate inquiry on water interruptions Tuesday as chair of the public services committee, said the water regulator and Manila Water should stop finger-pointing and instead offer solutions.

"Maraming haka-haka [ang lumalabas] pero gusto nating malinawan kung ano ang naging dahilan. Ito ang pinakaimportante: ano ang solusyon nila o kailan ba magkakaroon ng relief. Kailan ba talaga magkakaroon ng supply ng tubig?" Poe said in an ambush interview in Pampanga on Saturday, March 16.

Service interruptions have been experienced for more than a week in Metro Manila and Rizal, with residents lining up for water rationing from firetrucks while others resorting to fetching water from swimming pools.

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) pointed to the increasing demand of Manila Water customers and the east zone concessionaire's inability to finish its Cardona treatment plant that would have helped address supply woes.

Manila Water earlier claimed there is not enough supply from Angat Dam in Bulacan to meet the growing demand from consumers.

Poe said she wants to hear the commitments of west zone concessionaire Maynilad Water Services and Manila Water on cross-border sharing.

At Tuesday's hearing, Poe said the Senate is bent on finding out the truth.

"Kung mayroong nagkasala, kailangan matunton kung sino man 'yon na nagpabaya sa trabaho nila. Kung isang pribadong kumpanya naman, siguro ang Manila Water mismo ang magpalit sa kanilang mga namamahala," said Poe when asked if she would recommend the sacking or firing of officials proven to be remiss of their duties.

Invited guests who confirmed attendance on Tuesday's Senate probe include Public Works Undersecretary Roberto Bernardo, administrator Vicente Malano of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, Manila Water president and CEO Ferdinand dela Cruz, Manila Water chief operating officer Geodino Carpio, Maynilad chief operating officer Randy Estrellado, MWSS regulatory office head Patrick Ty, MWSS administrator Reynaldo Velasco, and National Water Resources Board executive director Sevillo David Jr.

Also confirmed are barangay captain Carlito Cernal of Addition Hills in Mandaluyong City, Christopher Ilagan of the American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, former director Glenn Tabios of the University of the Philippines' National Hydraulic Research Center, division superintendent Dominico Idanan of Department of Education-Pasig, department manager Joseph Michael Jaro of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Rizal Medical Center chief Relito Saquilayan, former Trade undersecretary Victorio Dimagiba of Laban Konsyumer group, former MWSS chairman Ramon Alikpala of the Joint Foreign Chambers, and residents of affected areas in Metro Manila.

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