Protesters break into MWSS compound

TENSION gripped the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) compound in Quezon City Thursday, Febuary 3, after some 30 protesters broke in after clashing with security.

Radio DZBB’s Glen Juego reported the protesters were questioning rate hikes about to be implemented by the MWSS’ concessionaires.

Some 30 members of the militant urban poor group “Kadamay” engaged security personnel in a shoving match until they managed to enter the compound.

Militant groups earlier condemned the rate hikes implemented by private water concessionaires in Metro Manila, calling the increases unjustified and insensitive to the plight of ordinary consumers.

The Water for the People Network (WPN) noted Manila Water Co. will charge P1.92 per cubic meter more on residential customers using at least 30 cubic meters per month.

For its part, Maynilad Water Services Inc. will impose an additional P2.30 per cubic meter.

It said the new rates mean that households using at least 30 cubic meters will see their monthly water bill increase by at least P57.60 to P69 starting February.

The WPN said consumers were not informed, much less consulted, about the water rate hikes approved by the MWSS.

It added the rate hike is not justified because the private water concessionaires have yet to account for the questioned P1 billion they collected from consumers for unimplemented water and sewerage improvement projects.

The WPN said that while the adjustments form part of staggered increases being implemented by Manila Water and Maynilad for rate hikes approved in 2008, regulators should still have factored in the spate of price increases.

Also, the WPN said Manila Water and Maynilad have failed to ensure universal access and 24/7 availability in their service areas.

It said less than 60 percent of 790,000 households in Maynilad’s service area have 24-hour water service while only 74 percent receive water at 7-pound per square inch or stronger pressure.

More than half of water allocated to Maynilad continues to get wasted because of leaks and pilferage, the group said. Joel Locsin

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