Consumer group calls on Manila Water to suspend higher charges amid water interruptions

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 14) — Consumer group Laban Konsyumer on Thursday called on Manila Water Company, Inc. to stop charging consumers more as it fails to provide enough water supply in portions Metro Manila.

Group president Victor Dimagiba said the water crisis shows the east zone concessionaire's failure to fulfill its commitments under the concession agreement with the government.

"Manila Water should stop collecting yung in-authorize sa kanila for 2018 and 2019... The moment they cannot comply with their obligation, I don't think they should continue a higher tariff rate," he said.

Dimagiba estimated that an additional ₱2.10 per cubic meter has been charged to Manila Water customers since October last year when the higher rate was imposed.

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System allowed Manila Water to raise rates by as much P6.50 per cubic meter as part of the mandatory rate rebasing for water concessionaires. The charge will be implemented on a staggered basis until 2022.

Thousands of households in the eastern part of Metro Manila have no water for a week now. The local government of Mandaluyong is even expected to put the city under a state of calamity due to the water shortage.

Manila Water attributes the shortage to the lowering level of water at La Mesa reservoir in Quezon City due to the dry spell. However, the National Water Resources Board, which manages Angat dam - Metro Manila's main water supply - said current supply can last for the whole summer, but aqueducts, tunnels, and pipes can only take in a limited volume of water.

The water crisis has prompted the administration and lawmakers to undertake separate investigations.