Retired Deputy Director General Reynaldo Velasco Reynaldo V. Velasco has formally stepped down from his post as chairman and acting administrator of Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage system (MWSS). Velasco will be busy campaigning as representative for Party-List Philippine National Police Retirees Association, Inc. (PRAI) in the upcoming elections.
Velasco officially ended his stint on Thursday, Sept. 30, as MWSS chief after having served the agency for nearly four years.
He will be replaced by incoming MWSS Administrator Leonor Cleofas, who retired as the agency’s deputy administrator in May. Prior to her recent retirement, Cleofas oversaw the successful completion of several water reliability projects such as Angat Water Utilization and Improvement Project (AWUIP) and Angat Water Transmission Improvement Project (AWTIP).
During Velasco’s term at the MWSS, he implemented reforms and innovations at the agency that resulted in more efficient organization. Because of these programs, MWSS moved up the ladder among Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs), with its category upgraded from Level C to Level B.
Among 84 GOCCs assessed, MWSS ranked 59th in 2016, 38th in 2017, 34th in 2018, and 29th in 2019.
Under his leadership, MWSS remitted a total of P1.512 billion to the national government treasury in the form of dividends from 2017 to 2019.
From 2016 to 2020, the population served by MWSS also increased by 8.41 percent or 1.317 million more customers, while households with direct access to water increased by 9 percent from 3.89 million in 2017 to 4.15 million households as of April 2021.
When a water crisis hit Metro Manila in 2019, Velasco also ordered the creation of a roadmap that involves the development of new water sources and building of new infrastructure projects that will provide potable and sustainable water supply in the next five,10 and even 50 years with an increase of at least 1,518 million liters per day (MLD) by 2022.
It was only in March last year when Velasco took back the MWSS leadership from retired Lt. General Emmanuel Salamat, who served the agency for less than a year.
Prior to Salamat’s brief takeover of the agency from August 2019 to March 2020, Velasco served as the MWSS administrator since 2017.
Velasco said that as he “ends his tour of duty at the water agency,” he will be busy with the Philippine National Police Retirees Association, Inc. (PRAI), which is seeking a seat at the House of Representatives in the May 2022 elections.
He is the number one nominee of PRAI, an organization working for the benefit and welfare of all retired men and women in the uniformed service of the PNP and their dependents.
Velasco announced this during the groundbreaking ceremony for the Million Trees Foundation, Inc.’s (MTFI) plant and saplings nursery at the La Mesa Watershed area held on Thursday.
“I am proud to be part of this significant step towards environment sustainability,” Velasco said during the ceremony. The MTFI is the institutional organization created and tasked to expand MWSS’ Annual Million Tree Challenge (AMTC), which was initiated by Velasco in 2017.
A massive tree-planting project, AMTC targeted to rehabilitate the seven critical watersheds in the region, namely Angat, Ipo,Kaliwa, La Mesa, Laguna Lake, Umiray, and Upper Marikina.
So far, the AMTC and its partners have already planted more than four million trees in the span of four years.
“We have to join hands to address the state of our watersheds as these greatly affect our water supply. I am grateful to the proponents of MTFI for joining together for a noble cause,” Velasco said.
The outgoing MWSS chief also thanked MWSS concessionaires Manila Water Company Inc., Maynilad Water Services, Inc., and Luzon Clean Water Development Corporation (LCWDC), and other project partners for supporting the AMTC.
The establishment of a plant and tree nursery is an integral component of MTFI programs. Under a Memorandum of Agreement between MWSS and MTFI, the latter was granted a five-hectare site for the nursery in the La Mesa Watershed area.
The nursery will serve as the support and production arm of the AMTC where seeds of plants and tree species to be transplanted by institutional partners in identified watershed beneficiaries will be germinated.