Poe to franchise applicants Maynilad, Manila Water: Make public welfare a priority

Published August 31, 2021, 3:36 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The Senate Committee on Public Services will begin on Wednesday, September 1, its deliberation of the franchise renewal applications of Maynilad Water Services Inc. and the Manila Water Company Inc.

(MANILA BULLETIN FIle Photo)

Senator Grace Poe, committee chairperson, disclosed this Tuesday, August 31, as she committed “to ensure that the franchise applicants will indeed put the welfare of our people first.”

To be discussed are House Bill (HB) 9422 and the HB 9423, which would renew the franchises of Maynilad and Manila Water, respectively, for another 25 years.

The approval of the franchise applications in the House of Representatives was questioned by some congressmen, who accused their leadership of railroading the measures.

Poe earlier assured that the House-approved bills will go through a “fine-tooth comb” scrutiny and challenged the two Metro Manila water concessionaires will address the problems raised against their services.

Citing the Asian Development Bank’s 2013 and 2016 studies, Poe said the country’s water security was ranked at the bottom quarter out of 48 Asia-Pacific countries, with poor governance as the main cause, not water scarcity.

Currently, 15 million Filipinos still do not have access to water while more than 55 people die every day from water-related causes, she also noted.

“Now more than ever, access to safe and affordable water is basic and crucial in our fight to douse the risks and perils of the unseen virus,” Poe said.

Aside from executives of Maynilad and Manila Water, also invited to the hearing are officials of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), as well as representatives of consumer groups.

 
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