Akbayan Partylist’s Statement on Manila Water Acceding to the Public’s ZERO-SINGIL Demand
Manila Water’s recent pronouncement of waiving its water bills, including its minimum charges, is a win for aggrieved consumers severely affected by the water crisis who asserted not to pay for the company's failed service.
In a Senate hearing on March 19, Senator Risa Hontiveros demanded accountability from Manila Water for residents who bore the brunt of the water crisis. On Tuesday, Manila Water President Ferdinand dela Cruz announced “a voluntary and one-time bill waiver scheme that will be reflected in the April bill of our customers”. Manila Water will waive the minimum charge for March, which will be reflected in the April water bill. “Sa mga pinaka-apektado, we are going to waive their March consumption”, dela Cruz added.
The water concessionaire acceding to the public’s ZERO-SINGIL demand is a welcome development that partly compensates the health risks and loss of income that the public faced during the peak of the loss of water supply early this month.
Akbayan Partylist maintains that this does not let Manila Water off the hook, but instead must commit further to reimburse public hospitals that have suffered 4 million peso-loss due to the water crisis, ensure full reinstatement of water supply in Metro Manila East, and enact mechanisms to ensure a similar incident does not happen in the future.
Akbayan Partylist also sees Manila Water’s ZERO-SINGIL as a demonstration of the people’s power in exacting accountability from those in the business of delivering basic public goods. This is clearly a case of “sorry is not enough” and a just and fair compensation must be done. The public must also be vigilant in checking their March and April water bills to ensure that they do not get charged, as committed by Manila Water.###