After telling lawmakers on Monday that the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System was powerless to punish Manila Water for violating its mandate of providing water services 24/7 to its clients, the chief regulator of the MWSS said they were studying the imposition of penalties on the water concessionaire.
At Tuesday’s Senate hearing on the water supply crisis, Ty explained that due to the unprecedented situation caused by water outage and since no law prohibited the government to penalize any violation of the concession agreement, the MWSS could impose a penalty on Manila Water even before the next rebasing in 2022.
“We are studying it right now. We are also actually studying the amount of the penalty that will be imposed, which can be rebated,” Ty said. “We are exploring the option of imposing it, if there is any, around June or July.”
Ty said the MWSS wanted to prioritize fixing the water supply problem rather than imposing penalties on the water concessionaire.
During the hearing, stakeholders and local officials lamented the situation in their barangays and cities.
“There really is no water. This is the first time we are experiencing water shortage of this magnitude. The situation is chaotic. People are so desperate for water that they prevent fire trucks from distributing water in an orderly manner,” said Darwin Fernandez, a barangay chief in Mandaluyong City.
Manila Water president and chief executive officer Ferdinand dela Cruz said he empathized with the plight of their customers, assuring that they were mobilizing 30 trucks every day to ration water in affected areas.
“I have instructed our team to look for ways to see how we could further render services to affected communities,” Dela Cruz said.