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Tacloban folk face water woes

Tacloban Union of Barangay Officials (TUBO) and Alliance of Water Concessionaires (ALWACON) warned the residents of Tacloban City on possible problems that may arise as Manila Water takes over Leyte Metropolitan Water District (LMWD).

Metro Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) is pointing out the past expenses and expenditures of Manila Water for operations done outside their concession areas in Metro Manila.

Last 2013, MWSS rejected a total of P85.7 million in media and other expenses proposed by Manila Water for their expansion areas outside Metro Manila. Expenses like these, outside concession areas, are illegal.

On Manila Water’s website, they have ongoing projects outside Metro Manila particularly Laguna, Boracay, Clark, Cebu and Zamboanga. Manila Water currently provides water and waste water services for the East Zone of Metro Manila, which covers Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Pateros, San Juan, Taguig, Marikina, Manila, Quezon City and Rizal.

TUBO and ALWACON are crying out that this is indeed a clear violation of the concession agreement between Manila Water and MWSS.
    
To charge project costs, project development studies, travel expenses, and other related expenses like media placements and advertising as part of recoverable expenses is a clear violation by Manila Water of their concession agreement with MWSS.
    
If Manila Water is doing this to its Metro Manila customers, what will stop them from doing this to its Tacloban customers? Why will we be paying more for water so we can pay the bill of their expansion projects in Boracay and Clark or even outside the country? Why would the consumers from Tacloban spend for services intended for customers of other areas?
    
The concession agreement with Manila Water requires that its earnings from concession areas should be used only in their respective areas, and stops them from using the funds in other parts of the country and elsewhere in the world.
    
Despite the agreement, Manila Water has announced that it would be borrowing P650 million to fund its expansion program in Boracay. They have loaned a total of P4 billion to fund their expansion in Boracay and other projects in Laguna, Clark and Cebu.
    
This juggling of funds is unfair, unjust and should be acted upon by the national government regulators. Furthermore, it should be blocked by the LMWD and most importantly the Local Government Units.
    
With this, LMWD should be more careful and thoroughly review its recent dealing with Manila Water, if it is to uphold its mandate and protect its consumers and concessionaires from the abovementioned wrongful effects.