Marcos seek review of water concession contracts to lower rates

Vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. today sought for a review of water concession contracts as he questioned various “unconscionable” charges being imposed by water concessionaires to consumers.

During a meeting with consumer group United Pilipino for Consumers and Commuters in Ermita, Manila, Marcos said the concession agreements with Manila Water Co. Inc., and Maynilad Water Services Inc. and other firms should be reviewed by the next administration because of several questionable provisions in the contracts that are anti-consumer.

Noting that just like power, water rates in the Philippines are among the highest in Asia, Marcos cited the charge which passes to consumers the cost of project that has not yet been implemented.

Reports have shown that some P6 billion have already been paid by water consumers for projects that have either been cancelled or deferred.

“Ang ginagawa ngayon ay pinapasa ang cost ng project na hanggang ngayon hindi pa sinisimulan. Kaya nakakapagtaka at hindi naman tamang ipasa yan sa consumer. . Kaya dapat ang pamahalaan siguro tingnan nila ng mabuti ito. Dapat kilalanin nila na serbisyo ang kanilang ginagawa, hindi negosyo ,” he said.

The senator also questioned the twenty (20) percent environmental fee being charged to consumers supposedly for the greening of the watersheds. But Marcos expressed doubt if the fee is being used efficiently because of the still serious water problem in the country.

“Unang-una diyan mayroon yung environmental charge na 20% na gagamitin daw para magtanim ng mga kahoy sa mga watershed. At nakakapagtaka dahil kung talaga namang nagawa nila ang pagtanim nito, palagay ko hindi ganito kalala ang krisis ng supply ng tubig,” he pointed out.

He further stated that government should take a more pro-consumer stance on public utilities because such businesses should not be operated for profit but for the welfare of the general public.

“Bilyun-bilyon ang kinokolekta nila. Kaya ito’y nakakabahala sa ating mga consumer dahil sa aking pananaw, lalong-lalo na ang kuryente, ang tubig at ang utilities, lahat ng communication ay hindi dapat pinagkakakitaan ng mga malalaking korporasyon,” he said.

He added, “kaya diyan siguro nagkakaiba dahil pinaprivatize, napunta sa korporasyon, ang korporasyon ay talagang nandiyan para kumita. Dapat siguro isipin natin ano ang pwedeng gawin nang sa ganun i-limit ang pag-charge sa ating mga consumer.

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