27 September 2003
"It’s like adding insult to the heavily injured water industry", FDC commented on the recent water hike imposed by Manila Water, as 200 of its members picketed the Ayala-controlled concessionaire in the MWSS compound in Balara, Quezon City.
The price increased resulted from the MWSS Regulatory Office’s approval of Manila Water’s petition to apply the mechanism of the foreign currency differential adjustment (FCDA) as a way of recovering exchange rate losses incurred by private concessionaire under the water privatization program of the government since 1997. FDC pointed out that this is the ninth time Manila Water has violated its promise to the consumers in the East Zone area of Metro Manila.
At the time of the bidding process, the company actually pledged that there would be no substantial rate increases in the next 20 years. The coalition charged that Manila Water “resorted to dirty tricks by making a dive bid of P2.32 tariff charges, which enabled them to win the East Zone franchise where most of Ayalas’ real properties are located. This, despite the obvious fact that their bid was not commercially feasible.
Now consumers are again being made to absorb the losses arising from the decisions of private business, with hardly any assurance that there will be improvement in quality and service delivery”.
Again, the interests of millions of ordinary consumers have been overridden by the profit motive of business firms. FDC cited the study conducted by the International Consortium Investigative Journalism (ICIJ), which reveals that Manila Water indeed spent less than the capital promised in its business plan that would be infused into the Metro Manila water industry.
Manila Water allocated only 1.2 billion pesos from 1997 to 2001 for plant, property and equipment during the five-year period, not 1. 7 billion pesos as stated in the said business plan. In the light of the negative impacts especially on poor communities as well as the false claims of water privatization,
FDC reiterates its call for the immediate reserval of the MWSS privatization undertaking. “Water is key to human survival. We cannot afford this resource to remain under the control and management of a handful of business elite whose primary concern is obviously profit and not service.” Water is a Human Right, Public Service Not Private Profit!
No to Manila Water Rate Hikes!