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MWSS must find new tack in dealing with Maynilad's habitual violations--Poe

PHILIPPINES, January 25 - Press Release
January 25, 2023

MWSS must find new tack in dealing with Maynilad's habitual violations--Poe

Sen. Grace Poe said the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) needs to do more to ensure that its concessionaires fulfill their obligations, as "slapping fines on those who fail their obligations is not enough."

The MWSS Regulatory Office (RO) penalized Maynilad P27.48 million this week for failing to supply water to consumers in the south of Metro Manila who are serviced by its Putatan Water Treatment Plant.

This is the third time Maynilad has been fined for problems in relation to its Putatan plant. Last year, they were already fined twice for the same problem.

"The MWSS must step up and take its role as regulator accordingly and effectively," Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services, stressed.

Customers in Las Piñas, Parañaque, Muntinlupa and some parts of Cavite suffered serious water interruptions during the Christmas holidays that started early in December, with some experiencing water interruptions even until this week. Customers in these areas also had the same water interruptions in the Christmas holidays of 2021.

"At some point, the MWSS RO should recognize that its fines are not working with Maynilad," Poe said.

The senator said the MWSS RO needs to reexamine its approach and understand why it isn't effective at this point.

It can be recalled that when MWSS fined Manila Water over P1 billion in 2019, the latter improved its services and had not been fined again.

Maynilad's net income exceeded P6 billion in 2021 and 2020, according to its 2021 financial statement.

"Regulators are expected to primarily protect consumers and take it to heart. Maynilad customers in the south of Metro Manila have had to deal with the harrowing situation for two consecutive Christmases now. This is too much," Poe said.

"With all that declared income earned by the concessionaire as many consumers' taps turned dry, not only do they ask why the fine remains small in relation to the extent of their suffering, but also why they have to continue to live with such inconvenience," Poe added.