Pricier water-A A +A
Thursday, May 8, 2014
SOME residents, non-government organizations, and urban poor groups in Cebu City opposed the move of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) to increase its water rates by 12 percent.
Nine out of 11 speakers who attended the public hearing organized by the City Council yesterday objected to the water rate increase, saying it will be an additional financial burden on the public, particularly the poor.
The two other speakers are officials of MCWD.
Once the increase is implemented, MCWD said the monthly bill for a minimum consumption of 10 cubic meters of water will be P152.32, instead of P136.
The proposed rates will increase MCWD’s earnings by P6 million a month, which it plans to use to improve its pipelines and other facilities.
Becca Florderliz of the Barangay Apas Community Association said they object to the water rate hike because it will affect the poor. She said that some members of their organization earn only P300 per month.
“Dako na kaayo ang mawala sa kita sa mga tawo kung ma-implementar na (They will lose a lot when the new rates take effect),” she said.
For her part, Emily Malto, who represents the lupong tagapamayapa in the city, said that implementing the increase will keep the people from meeting their basic needs such as food, among others.
“There are people living a hand-to-mouth existence. They have a low income and if the increase will be implemented, they are the ones who will suffer,” she said.
Cebu Uniting for Sustainable Water, Consumers Right for Economic Welfare, Alliance of People’s Organization, Kaabag sa Sugbu and some residents of Barangays Guadalupe and Lahug shared the stance.
MCWD officials, however, defended their move, saying the increase will help fund the implementation of P4 billion worth of projects.
MCWD assistant general manager Ernie Delco said the project, which will be implemented until 2020, seeks to improve the water supply in MCWD’s franchise area and increase their coverage.
The project includes installation of new pipelines and rehabilitation of existing mainlines. They will also establish additional reservoirs and facilities.
At present, Delco said MCWD only covers 43 percent or 157,744 of the total population of their franchise area, which they want to increase to 76 percent by 2020.
MCWD’s franchise area includes the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay, and the towns of Cordova, Compostela, Liloan and Consolacion.
Delco also said they need to increase the rates, considering that they have not increased the rates in the last eight years. The last time water rates were adjusted was in 2006 yet.
Rates need to increase because the cost of fuel and power, as well as the minimum wage, has also gone up, he added.
Councilor Hanz Abella then asked MCWD how much the water district will earn once the increase is implemented.
MCWD’s assistant general manager for customer service and finance Myra Ravilo said they stand to earn additional P6 million a month.
Delco further said it is necessary to expand and improve their facilities because the demand for water in the city and other areas is also growing.
If MCWD does not expand, private water suppliers who have higher water rates will come in, he said.
Before the public hearing ended yesterday, the council asked MCWD to give them a copy of the petition for water rate increase that they filed before the Local Water Utilities Administration.
They also asked MCWD to conduct another public hearing for their consumers, saying that the 2005 public hearing for the water rate hike was done almost 10 years ago.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 08, 2014.