Duterte threatens water concessionaires: Gov't can take over if water crisis happens

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 28) — President Rodrigo Duterte warned water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water that the government won’t hesitate to take over their operations if a water crisis happens anew.

“I’m taking stock of my options. Expropriation or outright police power. You just go to court and file a case if you want. I will start to find a way to connect the water to the people," he said in a chance interview on Monday.

Duterte also said he won't hesitate to use his "extraordinary powers" to address the looming crisis.

He said he mulls using police powers to finally start with the China-funded Kaliwa Dam project to help with the water supply issues in the country. The project has been stalled by protests and criticisms from environmental activists, locals and indigenous people. The dam, which would straddle the provinces of Rizal and Quezon, will fall within what the Dumagat people claim are their ancestral domain.

Water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water have scheduled rotational water interruptions to manage dwindling supply from the main water source, Angat Dam.

In March, customers of Manila Water were surprised by unannounced water interruptions. For at least a week, its 1.2 million customers had no water supply or low water pressure. The water concessionaire attributed the shortage to the decreasing water levels at the La Mesa reservoir in Quezon City due to the dry spell.