Poe urges Manila Water to implement fair adjustment in water bills

Published March 25, 2019, 11:34 AM

by AJ Siytangco

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola 

Senator Grace Poe on Monday pressed the Manila Water Company, Inc. to implement a fair and just adjustment in the bill of its affected customers for the month of March and the succeeding months without water supply.

Senator Grace Poe (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Grace Poe

Poe reiterated her call as she expressed belief that the apology of East Zone water concessionaire is best expressed to consumers by lowering its charges for the months when it failed to supply water. She believes the Ayala-led company will be able to manage.

“Manila water can absorb it; their income will not dry up.  It is a drop in their bucket of profits.  An apology is best expressed monetarily,” the chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services said in a statement.

“Manila Water should not be reaping profits even if the taps have run dry…Kung walang tumulong tubig sa gripo, bakit tayo magbabayad? (If no water coming out of the tap, why should we pay?)” she added.

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) is set to meet officials of the Manila Water today (March 25) to discuss the adjustments.  The state regulator earlier appealed to the company to waive fees for the entire month of March.

Poe said MWSS must be vigilant in making sure that the public is not shortchanged by the computation of the bill reduction. She said the bill adjustment should come after the meeting of MWSS and Manila Water, and be immediately felt by the people in their next billing.

“This should be treated as an urgent matter, and should be felt by the consumers as soon as possible,” she appealed.

The Senate public services panel last week conducted a hearing on the shortage in water supply that continues to affect cities in the east of Metro Manila and nearby provinces. During the hearing, Manila Water was urged to offer a rebate and reduce its fees in the consumers’ water bills.

Poe said the panel is preparing its preliminary report on the issue, citing also the apparent lack of foresight of state regulators in identifying measures to avert water crisis.

Manila Water president and Chief Executive Officer, Ferdinand dela Cruz,  has repeatedly apologized for the sudden drop in water supply and holding himself fully accountable for the crisis.

In congressional inquiries, he stated the concessionaire is looking at possible bill adjustments for customers who have been inconvenienced by the supply shortage.

By adjusting its charges, Poe said Manila Water will be “showing good faith to the public that it was also prepared to do its responsibility in the wake of this water supply problem.”