By Chito Chavez
Millions of Quezon City residents affected by the recent water crisis demanded that they be spared to pay the full amount of their water bills due to the extreme inconvenience they experienced during their ordeal.
Lian Marie Halili of Barangay South Triangle aired this demand insisting that Manila Water Company, Inc. should also be charged with the damage and other expense the people incurred during the inaccurate advisories or unannounced water supply interruptions.
She said people were forced to buy drums and containers even at exorbitant prices just to store water which most of the time came in trickles during wee hours.
“For people like me, it takes a large chunk of our meager finances to purchase drums and containers that are not within our budget,’’ Halili said.
Halili called on the Quezon City officials to act on their appeal saying “it is a small price for Manila Water to pay’’ for the nuisance and trouble coupled with the financial drained the water crisis have caused.
First District Councilor Victor Ferrer Jr. vowed to intercede and arrange with Manila Water officials to discuss the matter.
A furious Vic Pineda of Barangay Obrero went further and wanted Manila Water officials to be jailed for the severe sufferings the people incurred due to their supposed “kapabayaan (negligence), katangahan (ineptness), and pangungurakot (corrupt acts).”
Expressing his frustration further with his work’s “no work no pay scheme,” Pineda complained he lost more than one week of basic income which Manila Water should pay.
“Isang linggong walang kita, pati overtime pay wala rin. Puyat, hirap ang dulot ng kawalan ng tubig (It’s been a week without income and no overtime pay. The water interruptions had caused me long sleepless hours and extreme difficulties),” Pineda said.
Manila Water said on Friday that the company is already studying the call of Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for them “not to charge’’ customers following the shortage on water supply in some areas in Metro Manila and Rizal province.
Ferdinand Dela Cruz, president and CEO of Manila Water, said the east zone water concessionaire would meet with MWSS officials on Monday to discuss the matter.
Pineda remains doubtful that something positive will come out of the meeting between the MWSS and Manila Water.
“Kahit di maningil ng buo sa March ang Manila Water kulang pa yan sa gastos, hirap, at stress na naidulot nila sa publiko (Even if Manila Water does not charge its clients with the full amount this March, the company should compensate the public for the expenses, sacrifice, and stress they have caused),’’ Pineda added.
Manila Water, which has since apologized for the water service interruptions, said the problems of increasing demand and inadequate water supply have been aggravated by the El Niño phenomenon.
Halili said it only showed that Manila Water is ill-prepared with the unfavorable circumstances occurring every year.