MANILA, Philippines – Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) is the government’s newest private sector partner in its ongoing campaign to rehabilitate Manila Bay.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Tuesday, May 21, signed a memorandum of understanding with MPIC under its Adopt-an-Estero program. The partnership is valid for 5 years.
MPIC will be adopting 25 estuaries in Metro Manila. Of these, 24 drain to the Pasig River and the remaining, Estero de San Antonio Abad, directly drains to Manila Bay. (READ: Cleaner rivers, estuaries seen within 2019 – Cimatu)
Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said that out of the 25 estuaries, 3 will be given particular focus for cleanup to make part of the bay swimmable in 2019.
MPIC will provide logistical support as well as assist schools and communities with participation in the cleanup.
Connecting to sewage systems
MPIC unit Maynilad Water Services, which was also present during the signing, will fast-track its wastewater programs by rehabilitating sewer lines and connecting more households as well as commercial customers to its sewage system.
Ramoncito Fernandez, Maynilad president and chief executive officer (CEO), said they are allocating around P10 billion for the first two years of the cleanup drive.
In a statement, MPIC also said Maynilad will be installing collector pipes at easements cleared by the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission.
“Maynilad is spending quite a lot of its budget at the remainder of its concession life on cleaning up and improving the sewage and sanitation of the city,” said MPIC president and CEO Jose Maria Lim.
Maynilad wastewater management head Antonio Garcia said their original plan was to connect 4,000 clients per year, or have all their clients connected to the sewage system by 2037.
But with the Manila Bay cleanup, Maynilad will be doubling its efforts.
“Presently we have around 8,000 commercial customers not connected in the city of Manila so that’s why we’re targeting [the top] 25% within this year. That’s around 3,315 customers,” Garcia said.
He added that the top 25% accounts for 94% of the total volume of wastewater being discharged by the 8,000 establishments.
In the next 3 years, Maynilad expects to have all commercial establishments in Manila connected to its sewage system.
Garcia told Rappler that they always knew they had clients who were not connected to their sewage system. But with the DENR partnership, Garcia said they will be able to compel these establishments to finally comply.
At the current rate rebasing, Maynilad is spending around P37 billion to cover 100% of its clients. Overall, the company is expecting to have spent around P140 billion by the end of its concession. – Rappler.com
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