18 June 2004
The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) strongly condemns any move to salvage Maynilad and preserve the government’s predilection of passing on to profit-hungry corporations its responsibility to provide clean and affordable water to the people.
Seven years of subjecting Metro Manila’s water distribution utility to the whims of private water operators showed none of the rosy promises of water privatization . Rates are skyrocketing , actual performance in delivery of services fall short of targets, more loans are incurred to cover for Maynilad’s failure to remit concession fees that should have gone to debt servicing . And now, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), with blessings from the Arroyo administration, is selling out on the Filipino people by steamrolling an agreement that will free the Benpres-Suez conglomerate from its self-made Php 19 billion burden.
FDC calls on the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to decide now and reject the MWSS-Maynilad contrived Amendment 2.
No amount of propaganda can sugar-coat Maynilad’s performance and the government’s culpability in allowing hapless consumers to be victimized by water profiteers. The damage wrought by exposing to private interests a service as basic as water provision should be immediately contained and remedied starting with the rejection of Amendment 2.
Amendment 2 has been skinned to its rotten core. It is merely another ploy to preserve a flawed water privatization policy. A policy that was sold to the public in 1997 as the solution to an impending water crisis. A solution that proved worse than the crisis itself.
The Arroyo administration should look at the failed water privatization experiments of Buenos Aires (Argentina), Cochabamba (Bolivia), Jakarta (Indonesia), Atlanta (Georgia, USA), among other countries, and find that Metro Manila’s own experience is not unique. These are showcases of bungled World Bank-dictated water privatization policies which pave the way for transnational water companies to capture the $1 trillion global water market.
FDC maintains that water provision should stem out of the recognition that access to this life-giving element is a human right. Giving preference to the profit motives of private companies before the basic needs of the people is immoral and a betrayal of public interest. The government’s water privatization policy protects, above all, the interest of corporate water providers. Amendment 2 is further proof of this.Scrap Amendment 2!
Public service not private profit!
Stop water privatization!!
THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Freedom from Debt Coalition