The Freedom from Debt Coalition today hailed the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System’s recent decision to disallow any water rate increases for the entire year of 2009 as a welcome relief for Metro Manila’s 12 million residents now facing the initial tremors of a global economic crisis.

Citing statements made by MWSS Administrator Diosdado Allado, FDC characterized the decision as a long-awaited recognition by the MWSS of the “insensitivity” of any possible rate increase to “the plight of Filipinos”.

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Submitted to the MWSS Regulatory Office and the MWSS Board of Trustees
15 December 2008

The Freedom from Debt Coalition submits this petition to the MWSS-Regulatory Office and the MWSS Board of Trustees to call for a rejection of the proposed P10.96 tariff increase to be implemented by Maynilad Water Services Inc. beginning January 1 2009.

As the government bodies directly accountable and publicly responsible for the delegation of Metro Manila’s water distribution services to two private concessionaires, the MWSS-RO and the MWSS Board of Trustees are hereby called upon to exercise their responsibility with utmost regard of the following considerations:

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QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Angry water consumers, led by the Freedom from Debt Coalition, today staged a protest action against a P7.10-increase in the basic tariff being proposed by the Maynilad Water Services, Inc. for households consuming 30 cubic meters a month.

Outside the venue of a “public consultation” at SEAMEO Innotech along Commonwealth Avenue, FDC members, carrying water buckets and wash basins, stressed that the proposed rate hike is unsympathetic to the plight of millions of Metro Manila west zone water consumers, particularly the poor.

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The Freedom from Debt Coalition opposes the unconscionable rate hike being peddled by Maynilad Water Services, and condemns as insensitive Maynilad’s profit-oriented attempt to proceed with business as usual in the midst of a financial crisis that has left the poor extremely vulnerable to the slightest rate increase in basic necessities such as oil, power, and water. 

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MANILA, Philippines – The Freedom from Debt Coalition today criticized Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (MWSI) and Manila Water Company, Inc. (MWCI) for practicing ‘business without risk’ and ‘milking consumers dry’ as the two water concessionaires announced their plans of water rate hikes starting October to cope with the weakening of the peso against the US dollar.

In a statement, the water rights advocates also criticized the so-called Foreign Currency Differential Adjustment (FCDA) mechanism for prioritizing the financial standing of the concessionaires. FCDA is an added component of the concessionaires’ water bills which is used to cover for foreign exchange gains and losses in the foreign-denominated loans acquired by Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and the concessionaires.

Edwin Chavez, FDC vice president, said the FCDA is an unwarranted safety net provided to the concessionaires at the expense of Metro Manila consumers. 

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