BAYAN Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate yesterday slammed Maynilad and Manila Water for the new round of water interruptions, saying it only shows how negligent the water concessionaires are.
“This already happened earlier this year and now it is happening all over again. The water concessionaires are truly remiss in their contract and this should be scrutinized. This also shows that privatization of public utilities is not the way to go because all they care about is to have profits,” he said in a statement.
Zarate called on the House leadership to immediately start hearings on House Resolution No. 10 which the Makabayan bloc filed earlier to investigate Manila Water and Maynilad.
“We hope that this round of water interruptions is not another ploy to push for the start of the construction of the Kaliwa dam that is full of anomalies and is onerously pro-China,” said the deputy minority leader.
As announced earlier this week, water service interruptions will start today and may last until next year if water level at Metro Manila’s major water sources will not improve over the next few months.
Metro Manila, which has a population of 12 million, gets its water supply from the Angat-Ipo-La Mesa water system.
Angat Dam supplies 97 percent of Metro Manila’s water needs, releasing about 4 million liters of water per day, while La Mesa Dam is supposed to serve as a reserve for Manila Water.
As of last Tuesday, water level at Angat Dam was at 186.44 meters, way lower than its spilling level of 217 meters, while Ipo Dam’s water level was at 100.48 meters, also below its spilling level of 101 meters.
Water level at La Mesa is at 77.53 meters, lower than its spilling level of 80.15 meters.
Manila Water, in a statement, said its scheduled water interruption will be felt by all its 6.8 million customers and will range from 4 to 10 hours.
Affected areas include Rizal, Makati, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Pasig, Parañaque, Pateros, Quezon City, San Juan, and Taguig, among others.
Zarate said alleged collusion between MWSS and the water concessionaires to force the China-funded Kaliwa Dam project should be exposed.
The Commission on Audit (COA) earlier bared that the bidding for the Official Development Assistance (ODA)-funded project was done “in the guise of being a competitive procurement process.
COA cited the alleged intentional non-compliance to qualification requirements of two of the three Chinese contractors that joined the bidding.
“As a result, only the China Energy Engineering Corporation Limited (CEEC) qualified which is questionable considering that the two bidders were disqualified in the 1st and 2nd stages of the procurement process due to seemingly intentional purpose of the bidders not to comply with the TWG requirements,” state auditors said in their Audit Observation Memorandum last June 10.
The AOM was addressed to then MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco and deputy administrator for Engineering and Technical Operations Leonor Cleofas and signed by OIC Audit team Leader Rency Meryl P. Marquez and OIC Supervising Auditor Ma. Nancy J. Uy.
“In summary, it can be deduced that the two bidders/contractors were included merely to comply with the ‘at least three bidders requirement’ as stated under the Procurement law,” the report said.