Opposition candidates tell gov’t to probe water shortage situation

By Alexandria San Juan

Opposition senatorial bets urged the government to probe the “questionable” water shortage affecting parts of Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

In a press conference at the Liberal Party Headquarters in Quezon City Wednesday, Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc, human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, and former election lawyer Romy Macalintal said the public should know the true cause of the current water shortage.

Affected residents line-up their buckets and water containers as they wait for the volunteer firefighter to give them water at Brgy Oranbo, Pasig City, March 12 2019, as NGO firefighters and tankers provide water rationing to help minimize the adverse effect of low water supply. (MARK BALMORES / MANILA BULLETIN)
Affected residents line-up their buckets and water containers as they wait for the volunteer firefighter to give them water at Brgy Oranbo, Pasig City, March 12 2019, as NGO firefighters and tankers provide water rationing to help minimize the adverse effect of low water supply. (MARK BALMORES / MANILA BULLETIN)

According to Gutoc, there is a need for the government to conduct an “impartial probe” on the “questionable” water interruption, adding that they should be transparent and publicize their contingency plan as agencies have contradicting claims on the cause of the crisis.

“There is really a need to conduct a probe into this. What is the true cause? If there is a possible mismanagement, the people have a right to know and should be apprised of the solutions being undertaken,” she said.

The senatorial candidates cited the repeated claim of water concessionaire Manila Water that the water service interruption is due to El Niño and low water level at La Mesa Dam.

However, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration earlier explained that the La Mesa Dam is only a reserve in cases when water supply in Angat Dam, the primary source of water (at least 96%) in Metro Manila, gets too low.

A data from the state weather bureau also showed that the water level in Angat is still normal.

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), the state agency in charge of water privatization in the country, also described the same as still “enough.”

“May malaking kuwestyon po dito, at sana po ay imbestigahan ito ng gobyerno. The water crisis is fast becoming a catastrophe. If the government is not proactive in this and fails to act in a timely manner, maraming tao po ang magdudusa at maghihirap,” Gutoc added.

Gutoc’s statement was echoed by Diokno who said that it is about time for the people to know the real problem to also find a real solution.

“I think it is inexcusable that the government is unprepared. This is really a big problem at panahon na para makakuha tayo ng makatotohanang paliwanag sa ating pamahalaan o ahensya na may hawak sa tubig kung ano ba talaga ang nangyayari,” he bared.

Meanwhile, Macalintal said that the current water crisis in Metro Manila only shows the incompetence of agencies in charge of the water system in the country.

“Ang MWSS, palagay ko, malaki ang pagkukulang nila dito. Dapat libre ang tubig sa lahat ng mamamayan kasi ito ay natural gift from God,” he said.

He also asked the government for a solution in the water problem as more Filipinos are already suffering.

Macalintal suggested a daily distribution of water from the government as a short-term solution, and a possibility of rainwater harvesting system for long-term.

 
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