13 July 2005
WE, members of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) under the umbrella of the Lumalabang Mamamayan Sa Gitna ng Krisis at Kahirapan (LUMABAN KA!) denounce the GMA-Noli administration’s bailout of private interest and disregard of public welfare as the government pursues the implementation of Maynilad’s corporate rehabilitation.
The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), supposedly the government agency representing public interest in the MWSS privatized setup, has shamelessly abdicated its role and has, instead, concurred to a scheme which seeks:
- to allow the Lopezes to be released from its guarantees on Maynilad’s P22.9 billion liabilities while MWSS assumes 84% ownership of the bankrupt company at a cost of US$22.67 million and an additional $31 million capital infusion to be sourced from the government’s pending loan from the World Bank;
- staggered payment of due and demandable concession fees;
- additional two-year delay in water supply and sanitation targets;
- lowering of water pressure targets from 16 pounds per square inch (psi) to 7 psi.
All these, aside from the illegal granting of a P10 increase per cubic meter starting January 2005 without due process as required under Administrative Code of 1987 (Book VII, Section 9.2) which states: “In the fixing of rates, no rule or final order shall be valid unless the proposed rates shall have been published in a newspaper of general circulation at least two (2) weeks before the first hearing thereon.” Maynilad held its controversial public hearing on December 14, 2004 and published its tariff increase on December 17, 2004!
The Arroyo-de Castro administration could have upheld public interest not only to protect the welfare of consumers but most importantly, to prioritize, above all the people’s right to clean, adequate and affordable water. But it has chosen, instead, to honor its political debts and delivered the Lopez-owned and mismanaged water corporation from its self-inflicted financial misery.
The GMA-Noli regime clearly has misplaced its priorities and should not only be condemned because of the juetenggate and Hello Garci scandals, but should be made to answer for the immorality of its actions in espousing profit motives of the private water company.
With government’s bailout of Maynilad, GMA and Noli has clearly betrayed public trust. For this alone, the present regime does not have any more business remaining in public office!
We demand an end to a regime that has clearly condoned a private business’s exploitation of hapless water consumers. We call for a transitional revolutionary government that will reclaim human right to water and bring this precious resource back to public control.
- END the Crisis and Poverty!
- END the Arroyo Regime!