Coalition condemns water companies for human rights violations, economic sabotage

The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) condemned the recent ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore ordering the government to pay P7.39 billion for supposed losses and other arbitration related costs incurred from June 1, 2015 to November 22, 2019.

“The public should be warned that we are not just being asked to compensate Manila Water. Maynilad also has similar claims. Between them, they are claiming immediate compensation totaling P10.8 billion for denied rate hike petitions after winning in international arbitration. But in the case of Manila Water, that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” Rene Ofreneo, FDC president said today.

Metro Manila’s two water concessionaires filed several arbitration cases stemming from a dispute following the rate-rebasing done in 2013. In the first set of cases, Maynilad won
while Manila Water lost.

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Groups opposing Kaliwa Dam call on gov’t to scrap ECC, reveal true cost of project

The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) and other groups under the Sectors Opposed to the Kaliwa Dam (STOP Kaliwa Dam) network trooped to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) today to push for the scrapping of the application for an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) for the controversial New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project.

“We find it alarming that rather than listening to the broad opposition to the project from indigenous peoples, local communities, environmentalists and civil society advocates, the government appears hell-bent on pushing through with the project. Reports from our IP members who participated in the on-going process for free prior and informed consent (FPIC) being conducted by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) reveal that majority of the Dumagat-Remontados have rejected the project,” FDC Executive Director Zeena Manglinog said.

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Put Essential Services in Public Hands

The  Senate and House hearings  on  the  water  crisis generated a  flood of  criticisms  on the  murky water business of Manila Water and its hazy relationship with a government body, MWSS, that is  supposed  to  regulate the company.  The system of water governance is bad.  The  legislators described  the system as  “inefficient”, “mismanaged”, “incompetent”.

In addition, the hearings pounded  on the failure of  Manila  Water and  the  MWSS to anticipate the  water shortage and  coordinate plans  on how to prevent it.  There are also criticisms on how water has become expensive through the years; how the two private concessionaires, Manila Water and Maynilad, are still unable to provide water service to all, the poor households in  particular; and how these companies have been raking in, with Manila Water reporting a net income of  P6.5 billion in 2018 alone.

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