A hearing of the House committee on Monday, March 18, had some lawmakers ask for Manila Water whether the company is open to giving consumers a refund on Metro Manila regarding the water crisis.
“Are you willing to refund to the consumers? As part of your responsibility, are you willing to refund? It’s clear that the people are on the losing end here,” said Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate.
Ferdinand dela Cruz, Manila Water CEO was unable to respond to a categorical answer to the proposal. He cited they will look into the likelihood, but the company’s urgency is to restore water supply to affected areas.
“I am prepared to resign for failing the customers, but my focus right now, your honor, is to restore the service even if it’s a slow process,” said Dela Cruz taking full responsibility over the crisis.
Legislators eyed next the state-run Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and inquired whether Manila Water would be castigated for the supply shortage.
Patrick Ty, MWSS Chief Regulator primarily stated that the agency does not have the power to impose fines, but then on clarified that the concession agreement has necessities to penalize Manila Water. Ty added the MWSS cannot give a certain amount at the moment, as regulators would have to ponder the incurred costs of Manila Water.
MWSS would then evaluate which costs from activities would be disallowed to be passed on to consumers in the next base rebasing.
The Manila Water, owned by Ayala Corp. produced P6.5 billion in 2018 on the back of stable performance in the Manila concession area.
Dela Cruz held around 80% of customers in the East Zone of Metro Manila now have their water supply reestablished. Water pressure is likely to recover within the coming weeks.