By Alexandria San Juan
An official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said it is unfair for the government to be blamed in the ongoing water shortage affecting thousands of residents in Metro Manila and nearby provinces experiencing low water pressure to no water at all.
Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda told reporters in a press conference on Friday that the government, particularly the President, is not to blame with the ongoing water shortage faced by east zone concessionaire Manila Water.
“It’s not the fault of the President, again, what I can say in front of all the people, this is the fault of the private sector kasi hindi nila naforesee ‘yan [water shortage], negosyo ninyo yan, ang customer ninyo taumbayan, bakit sila naghihirap?” Antiporda said, reacting to statements putting the blame of the water shortage to President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Kaya kayo pinayagan na pumasok para maging concessionaire para maayos ‘yan, and now kasalanan ng gobyerno? I don’t think it is fair for us,” he added.
Meanwhile, the DENR undersecretary clarified that an investigation is now ongoing to look at what caused the shortage including lapses and incompetency on the part of Manila Water.
“Hindi rin natin alam bakit hindi nila na-foresee ito. Basically dapat, doon sa Manila Water, as of last year pa lang or two years ago, dapat nakita na nila ito. May El Nino o wala dapat ready tayo rito,” he explained.
Antiporda added that President Duterte cannot also be blamed in his recent move ordering concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad to release water from Angat Dam for 150 days.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo on Friday announced that the President has directed the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) “to demand from the Manila Water, Maynilad, and other responsible offices to release water from Angat Dam by noontime on Friday, March 15, good for 150 days, in order to supply the affected areas in Metro Manila and deliver, as well as distribute sufficient water to the residents.”
“We will heed the call of the President. Sisiguruhin natin na susundin natin yan pero hindi masasayng yung pakakawalan na tubig kasi baka umapaw lang, masayang, and may inaasahan tayong El Nino ngayon,” Antiporda added.