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Claim: Under former president Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, the water supply crisis was solved in less than a week.
The claim was made while discussing the high price of onions and the alleged power outage at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) under the current Marcos administration. Praising the former president’s “iron hand” approach to governance, the video said: “Noong panahon ni Pangulong Duterte, kung natatandaan ‘nyo, nagkaroon po ng kakulangan ng tubig. Ah, in short, shortage – water shortage na nangyari sa Kamaynilaan noong panahon ni Pangulong Duterte…. In just a few weeks or just – wala pang isang linggo, naayos ‘yong problema diyan sa tubig na ‘yan. At walang water shortage na nangyari.”
(During President Duterte’s time, if you remember, there was a shortage in water. Ah, in short, shortage – water shortage happened in the Metro Manila area during President Duterte’s time…. In just a few weeks or just – not even a week, the problem in water got resolved. And no water shortage happened.)
Why we fact-checked this: The video posted by Facebook user “Bryan Calagui” has over 1,300 reactions, 862 comments, and 13,000 views.
The bottom line: The water crisis started as early as March 7, 2019 when water services in six Metro Manila cities and seven towns in Rizal province were suddenly cut off. Instead of being resolved in less than a week, water interruptions persisted throughout the year.
Scheduled interruptions: A report by ABS-CBN News said that by March 22, 2019, water availability had improved in the previously affected areas. This, however, did not mean that water became readily available 24/7. Water interruptions continued to be scheduled to ration the water available at the time.
Supposed quick response: Although Duterte made quick pronouncements to address the water crisis by reportedly ordering Maynilad and Manila Water (the two water concessionaires in Metro Manila) to release a 150-day supply of water from the Angat Dam on March 15, 2019, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) announced that it was impossible to release that much water.
Contract renewal: Duterte threatened to scrap the concession agreements of Maynilad and Manila Water on March 19, 2022. He also threatened to sack MWSS officials if they failed to meet his expectations to resolve the water shortages.
Months before, on December 10, 2021, Duterte signed into law Republic Act 11160 which granted franchises to the two water concessionaires for 25 more years. – Pola Regalario/Rappler.com
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