MWSS vows to 'immediately' address water shortage

MANILA. Workers repairing one of the water connection lines of Maynilad Water on Adriatico Street in Ermita, Manila. Several areas in Metro Manila and nearby provinces are experiencing water shortage. (Al Padilla/SunStar Philippines)

AFTER being grilled by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) pledged Wednesday, March 20, to take "immediate" action to end the water crisis in Metro Manila and other nearby provinces.

The vow was made after the Chief Executive warned to fire MWSS executives if they fail to address the water shortage by first week of April.

MWSS administrator Reynaldo Velasco said the water regulator would talk to private water concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad Water Services for swift action to resolve the low water supply in some parts of Metro Manila and other neighboring provinces.

"We take it upon ourselves, sabi ko nga after this, I am meeting them immediately. Huwag nang ipa-bukas. We will immediately sit down how [to address water shortage]. Lahat naman kasi noong involved, kasama kagabi," Velasco told Palace reporters.

(We take it upon ourselves. After this, I am meeting them immediately. We have to address it now, not tomorrow. We will immediately sit down how to address water shortage. All of the involved joined the meeting.)

"We're going to draw what we intend to do and submit it to the President [a report] that will satisfy him na sana hindi maulit yung ganitong problema (which will give ways to avoid repeat of such problem)," he added.

Duterte met with officials of MWSS, Manila Water, and Maynilad amid the ongoing water crisis.

In a statement earlier Wednesday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte threatened to axe MWSS officials and terminate the contracts of Manila Water and Maynilad if they fail to heed his order to end the water shortage.

Panelo also noted that Duterte directed the three to submit a report before April 7 so the President can decide on their fate.

"After which, he (Duterte) will decide whether heads will roll or whether the contracts of the concessionaires will be terminated," the Palace official said.

"The Chief Executive told them he was not going to listen to their explanation as to why there was a water shortage as such would be just plain excuses. They simply did not do their job," he added.

Velasco said the MWSS and the two water concessionaires would do their best to heed Duterte's order.

He also vowed to resign "immediately" if they fail to address the water crisis.

"Ang sinabi lang niya, 'Shape up or ship out.' In other words, ayusin niyo muna, 'pag 'di nyo ma-ayos, go. Eh pinag-bibigyan naman kaming ayusin kaya inaayos ko (What he said was, 'Shape up or ship out.' In other words, fix this and if you fail, leave. He's giving us the chance to fix everything that's why I'm trying to address it)," he said.

"Kakayanin natin 'yan (We can do that). If I cannot do it, I will resign immediately," he added. (SunStar Philippines)


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