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Holding up cut-outs of oversized dentures, members of the consumer group Pagkakaisa ng mga Tagapagtangkilik ng Tubig sa Kamaynilaan (PATTAK) and the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) converged at the offices of Maynilad Water Services Inc. and the Manila Waterworks and Sewerage (MWSS) to dramatize their call for government to take back control of water services from private water companies.
PATTAK and FDC issued the call as water bills are set to go up yet again following the International Chamber of Commerce-led arbitration ruling in favor of Maynilad earlier this month.
The Freedom from Debt Coalition and the water consumers group Pagkakaisa ng mga Tagapagtangkilik ng Tubig sa Kamaynilaan (PATTAK), today slammed the recently announced ruling of an arbitration panel which grants Maynilad the right to hike its water rates for Metro Manila’s West Zone saying it sends the message that corporations can do whatever they please in the country.
When Metro Manila’s water services were privatized in 1997, the service area was divided into two geographically separate zones–the West zone which includes old Manila and the province of Cavite which was awarded to Maynilad and the East zone which includes much of the Makati business district and expanding suburbs, which was awarded to Manila Water.
“The decision legitimizes abuses committed by the water companies, such as passing on their corporate income taxes to consumers, which were a major basis for the MWSS’ decision last year to order water rate cuts and which are currently the subject of a legislative investigation. It tells other would-be investors that in the Philippines, you can rob the people blind and get rewarded for it!” Samuel Gamboa, FDC Secretary-General said.