By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The management shake-up at the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) didn’t take place as planned after retired army general Ricardo “Dick” Morales, who was supposed to be the new MWSS chief starting today, was instead assigned to lead a different agency.
In a text message, MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco said that as of now, he has not been replaced yet and will continue to serve his current position.
Velasco’s term was really set to expire on June 30. Him being replaced by Morales simply meant President Rodrigo Duterte didn’t reappoint him and instead recommended him to preside the MWSS Board of Directors.
However, in an unexpected turn of events, Duterte assigned Morales as the new president of Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), replacing Dr. Roy Ferrer amid the “ghost dialysis scandal” that the government health insurance agency caught itself in.
As a result, Velasco will still serve as MWSS Administrator on hold-over capacity until he assumes the chairmanship of the agency.
He will replace MWSS Chair Franklin Demonteverde, who would be transferred to the Judicial and Bar Council.
The supposed change in the leadership at MWSS came a few weeks after a water crisis plagued the east zone concession, which is being handled by Ayala-led Manila Water Company, Inc.
Over the weekend, Velasco said that the water crisis being experienced by service areas of MWSS is the result of the inaction of the previous administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III and the passivity of the former MWSS management under its former administrator, Gerardo Esquivel.
This was also the consensus reached by the House Oversight Committee that conducted a special hearing to look into the ongoing water crisis in Metro Manila.
During the hearing, Velasco said the previous administration failed to implement a water supply master plan completed in 2012.
For instance, Esquivel said to have rejected two projects for additional raw water supply of around 275 million liters per day (MLD), namely the 100 MLD Rizal Province Water Supply Improvement Project (RPWSIP) and the Tayabasan River Water Supply Project. The RPWSIP was eventually approved in 2016, three years after it was disapproved