By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Manila Water president and CEO Ferdinand Dela Cruz has found an ally in Marikina Rep. Bayani Fernando after the latter asked him not to resign and encouraged him to further improve his work.
Amid calls from his colleagues for Dela Cruz to relinquish his post, Fernando, a former mayor, expressed his faith in the embattled company president’s capability to resolve such mess, which he considered as a “technical problem.”
“H’wag kang magre-resign President because wala ng pinakamagaling sa inyong kumpanya kundi ikaw kaya wag kang mag-reresign.Hanggang sa huli pagbutihin mo, ipakita natin sa lahat [that you could fix this],” Fernando said during the recent House probe on the water crisis that plagued thousands of residents in Metro Manila and Rizal.
Fernando even thanked Fernando for his gesture of humility when the Manila Water president apologized for the weeklong water shortage.
“Humingi ka ng dispensa, may acceptance of guilt. You accepted your guilt so wala kang puwedeng idepensa kaya magmulta ka,” the former chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said. He said Manila Water should “voluntary compensate” those affected by the water shortage.
Dela Cruz earlier assured they are “willing” to face the penalties. On Monday, he told the House Committee on Metro Manila Development that he is holding himself “fully accountable” for the sudden drop in their service levels to the lawmakers’ constituents “whom we have consistently served over the past 21 years with 24/7 water availability and sufficient water pressure.”
During the hearing, Fernando proposed that all the utility companies serving Metro Manila, including Manila Water should not be allowed to undertake projects in the country until they improve their services.
“All the utility companies serving Metro Manila, Manila Water should not be given any new franchises until they have done their part. ‘Wag na tayong makisosyo pa sa Malaysia, wag munang kumuha ng concessions anywhere,” he said.
“Masyado tayong [nakafocus] sa profit hindi natin naseserve ‘yung mandate at obligation natin sa public…Let us set aside too much greed,” he added.
Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate and BUHAY partylist Rep. Lito Atienza demanded for the resignation of Dela Cruz and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for their supposed “grave incompetence and negligence” that fired up a “catastrophic” water shortage that affected some parts of Metro Manila and neighboring Rizal province.