Stressing that Metro Manila’s water supply system was in much worse state in

the 1990s than to what it is today, former President Fidel V. Ramos lauded the

Duterte administration and the current Metropolitan Waterworks and

Sewerage System (MWSS) officials for addressing with dispatch the water

shortage problem and for seriously putting on track several major water supply

sources projects for sustainable water security.

 

Ramos made the statement at his RPDEV office following a courtesy call by

MWSS Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco, FVR’s first Special Action Force

commander and veteran EDSA 1 and 2 hero including quelling coup attempts

against President Cory Aquino, who briefed the former Chief Executive on the

various executive actions undertaken by MWSS to solve the water shortage

that affected consumers in the east zone concession area by Manila Water.

 

Admitting that the MWSS is on a catch up mode due to failures of past

leaderships to develop new water sources, Velasco also discussed with FVR

the short-term, medium-term, and long-term water sources projects as well as

the progress on the 600 MLD P12.2 billion Kaliwa Dam under China ODA, the

500 MLD new Wawa Dam proposed by business tycoon Enrique Razon and

Oscar Violago in partnership with Manila Water, the 1850 MLD “ABC Projects”

as well as 350 Laguna Bay projects by Maynilad and Manila Water.

 

It will be recalled that water privatization in Metro Manila began when then

President Fidel Ramos, instructed the government in 1994 to solve the water

crisis in Manila by engaging with the private sector.

 

Until August 1997, water services in the metropolitan Manila were ran by

MWSS that was saddled with myriad problems: 1) a US$880 million debt; 2)

non-revenue water was around 69%; 3) infrastructure such as pipes and

distribution systems were old; 4) inability to provide water to one third of the

households or 53 percent coverage; and, those connected to the service had

an intermittent supply of 17 hours a day on the average.

 

Under the concession agreement, Metropolitan Manila was divided into two

areas: the east zone ran by Manila Water Company Inc. and the west zone,

ran by Maynilad Water Services Inc. – formed intially by Benpress (Philippines)

and Ondeo Water, a Suez subsidiary (France), until it was taken over by

Manny Pangilinan Metro Pacific Investments in 2007.

 

According to Velasco, 22 years after the Water Public Private Partnership

(PPP) was started, water coverage is now 98 percent in Metro Manila and

serviced areas like Rizal and Cavite while NRW was reduced dramatically from

a high of 63 percent now down to 11 percent by Manila Water and less 30

percent by Maynilad that inherited old piping system.

 

On the fiscal side, Velasco who along with his fellow Board of Trustees only

assumed office in February 2017, reported that MWSS is on the black as

dividend remittance to the national government from 2017 to 2018 was

unprecedented with Php 232.63M remitted in 2017 and Php 611.07 M in 2018,

the highest remittance made by MWSS to the national government in its

history.

 

Likewise, the MWSS settled a long standing dispute with the Department of

Finance regarding “Equity vs. Loans Payable to the JBIC Loan” issue by

paying the total subject amount of Php 2.089 B to the national coffers in 2018.

 

“Always be two steps ahead and strategic in running the water agency. I am

confident that you can do the job better like a professional soldier who has won

many battles in the field,” Ramos counsels the MWSS chief who in turn said “I

will never fail you Sir and President Duterte.”

 

BELATED HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRRD AND FVR. Photo shows former President Fidel V. Ramos and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator, PDDG Reynaldo V. Velasco (Ret.) hold a “Happy Birthday” fan poster of FVR and President Duterte at the Ramos Peace and Development (RPDEV) Foundation in Makati the other day. Both Philippine Presidents were born in March as FVR observed his 91st birthday last March 18 while President Rodrigo Duterte celebrated his birthday on March 28. The MWSS chief visited FVR to brief the former Chief Executive on the executive actions undertaken by MWSS to solve the water shortage as well as the various water supply sources projects now in the pipeline for water security and sustainability.