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
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.”