MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – East Zone concessionaire Manila Water on Tuesday, March 26, announced a voluntary one-time waiver scheme on minimum charges for all its affected customers in Metro Manila and Rizal.
Company president and chief executive officer Ferdinand dela Cruz said in a press conference on Tuesday that those covered by the scheme would not be charged for their first 10 cubic meters of water consumption in March.
“All Manila Water customer will receive a bill waiver of the minimum charge in their April bill…. We are waiving that minimum charge for all our customers,” Dela Cruz announced, adding that his will be reflected in the April bill.
He said all customers, including commercial and industrial establishments, are covered by the scheme.
Severely affected customers will not be charged, Dela Cruz said. Those who fall under this category are residents of barangays which had 24-hour water supply interruption for 7 days, he added. (READ: MWSS targets 99% water supply restoration by end of March)
“The way we define it, the severely affected [customers], these are those who don’t have water for the whole day for 7 days [and up], either continuously or with intervals because they are the most affected,” Dela Cruz said in a mix of English and Filipino.
“For communities, we have data and we’re working with the barangay officials for their consumption for the month of March. [T]hese are going to be waived,” he said.
The full mechanics of the scheme will be completed within the day.
Dela Cruz said Manila Water knew that it can “never fully pay back” customers who were inconvenienced by the “unprecedented” water supply interruption as he reiterated the company’s apology to the public.
He said waiving the minimum charge for March will cost Manila Water P150 million.
Dela Cruz thanked the MWSS for its inputs in the scheme.
Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Reynaldo Velasco noted that Manila Water’s voluntary action was a “self-imposed penalty.”
The MWSS chief also said that Manila Water’s move also came after their meeting, “with the blessing of our board due to the clamor of the sector and the others.”
“The board asked me to work with them so we just gave inputs to see what else could mitigate [the situation in] these areas. I would like to emphasize that this is just an isolated case. This is not a penalty,” Velasco said, stressing the voluntary nature of the move.
“We cannot ask for more. We have a mechanism. The fact that they volunteered, over and above, we should be happy,” he added. (READ: MWSS on water shortage: It’s our fault)
In the meantime Manila Water will still continue to secure enough water supply. (READ: MWSS, utility firms to secure enough water supply in 50-year plan)–Rappler.com