QC businesses warned against jacking up prices at the height of water crisis

Published March 16, 2019, 12:01 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Chito Chavez

In the midst of the water shortage in the Manila Water served areas in the metropolis, Quezon City officials warned the city’s water refilling stations of strict sanctions if they sell their products at “sky-high prices’’.


Hundreds of local residents have trooped to the offices of city hall officials to express their frustration and wrath not only about the water interruptions that sometimes last up to more than 20 hours but also about unscrupulous traders selling their products at unreasonable prices.

For instance, security guard Romulo Rafael personally went to the office of Councilor Allan Reyes to complain about the prices of drums and other water containers, which have doubled as the store owners may have taken advantage of the water crisis.

He also noted that the price of bottled mineral water in many parts of the city has also skyrocketed depriving the impoverished the residents access to safe and clean drinking water.

“Kritikal n ang sitwasyon. Lumalala na.  Sa mga sugapang negosyante maawa naman kayo sa mahihirap tulad ko. (The situation is very critical. It has gotten out of hand. To the unscrupulous traders please have pity on the poor people like me),’’ Rafael said.

Like the water in the people’s faucet, drums and water containers also have started to dry out as stores’ available stocks have been selling like hotcakes.

To make matters worse, Rafael claimed that prices of drums and containers people have been jacked up by P50 to P200.

Citing as an example, a used steel drum that usually sold at P300 was already being peddled at P600 to P650.

With this, Reyes has started to coordinate with national government agencies to run after or at least warned these “unscrupulous and shrewd’’ traders.

Rafael also told Reyes that some refilling stations with running tap water are passing them off as distilled water and selling them at outrageous prices.

Other variety stores are also selling tap water at P10 per pail.

Rafael said that under normal circumstances one container of water similar to the size of a regular pail is sold only at P4.

With this, Reyes prodded city hall personnel to conduct intense inspections of the city’s water refilling stations to determine if they adhere to government standards.

“We will coordinate with the concerned government agencies to stop unscrupulous from duping the public. Water refilling stations should follow the strict methods of purifying the water they are selling. Purifiers of the machines of water refilling stations should be replaced regularly,’’ Reyes said.

“Let this water crisis be a lesson to all of us. I guess we have to promote rainwater collection process to prepare us for any eventuality,’’ he added.

In the same breath, Reyes asked the public to ensure the water containers they want to purchase are ‘’clean before using them”.

Storing water has become a necessity after east zone concessionaire Manila Water announced that water service interruption ranging from six to 20 hours will be enforced from March 14 and will last for three months in its concession area.

Meanwhile, a joint monitoring center will be activated in Quezon City to oversee the rationing of emergency water supply in areas affected by the water supply disruption.

A coordination meeting attended by representatives of Manila Water Services, and a panel from the city government of Quezon City that included focal persons from the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Office of the City Administrator, Barangay and Community Relations Department and the Public Affairs and Information Services Department and the Quezon City Fire District was convened to discuss ways to alleviate the concerns of the city’s residents.

Manila Water representatives revealed that over 285,000 households in 82 of the city’s 142 barangays are affected by the water supply crisis.