House panel to probe water shortage

Mara Cepeda
House panel to probe water shortage
The heads of Manila Water and Maynilad, chiefs of government agencies involved in water supply, and mayors of affected cities are being invited to the hearing

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives is set to investigate the water shortage in parts of Metro Manila and Rizal on Monday, March 18. 

The House committee on Metro Manila development, chaired by Quezon City 2nd District Representative Winston Castelo, will be conducting the hearing at Conference Rooms 3 and 4 of the Ramon V Mitra Building at the Batasang Pambansa.

Since the evening of March 7, customers of Ayala-led Manila Water in Metro Manila and Rizal have faced low water pressure to no supply. Those who were affected said they were not given time to prepare. (READ: EXPLAINER: What caused Manila Water’s service problems?)

The officials invited to the hearing are:

  • Servillo David, National Water Resources Board executive director
  • Jeci Lapus, Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) administrator
  • Rogelio Uy, LWUA chairman
  • Reynaldo Velasco, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) administrator
  • Vicente Malano, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration administrator
  • Leonard Bañago, Bureau of Fire Protection chief
  • Patrick Ty, MWSS Regulatory Office chief regulator
  • Ferdinand dela Cruz, Manila Water chief executive officer (CEO)
  • Ramoncito Fernandez, Maynilad Water Services president and CEO
  • Huberto Lapuz, Philippine Hospital Association president
  • Rustico Jimenez, Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines president

Local chief executives of areas affected by the water service interruptions are also invited to attend. They include:

  • Pasig City Mayor Roberto Eusebio
  • Muntinlupa City Mayor Jaime Fresnedi
  • Caloocan City Mayor Oscar Malapitan
  • Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista
  • Navotas City Mayor John Reynald Tiangco 

On Thursday, March 14, no less than Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and House committee on public works and highways chairman Bayani Fernando received a briefing on the water shortage from MWSS Administrator for Engineering Leonor Cleofas and Department Manager for Research Byron Carbon.

MWSS Chief Regulator Patrick Ty already admitted that the government is to blame for the water crisis. (READ: [ANALYSIS] The economics of Metro Manila’s burgeoning water crisis)

The government is currently pushing for the construction of the China-funded Kaliwa Dam as an additional water source. But local groups oppose the project due to the social and environmental impact it would have on the community.

Manila Water earlier said the shortage will only be resolved once heavy rain pours. (READ: Domino effect: Water crisis causing more trash, hurting businesses– Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.