Lawmaker tells MWSS: Step up, do better as regulator

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 26) — Sen. Grace Poe on Wednesday urged the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to step up and do better as a regulator as “slapping fines” on violators is “not enough.”

In a statement, Poe said the MWSS “needs to do more to ensure that its concessionaires fulfill their obligations.”

The MWSS Regulatory Office (RO) earlier this week slapped water concessionaire Maynilad with a ₱27.48-million fine for failing to supply water to residents serviced by its Putatan Water Treatment Plant. Maynilad was fined twice for the same problem in 2022.

"The MWSS must step up and take its role as regulator accordingly and effectively," said Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services.

“At some point, the MWSS RO should recognize that its fines are not working with Maynilad," she added.

According to the senator, customers in Las Piñas, Parañaque, Muntinlupa and some parts of Cavite suffered water interruptions in December and some are still experiencing water interruptions this week. Customers in these areas also suffered water interruptions during the Christmas holidays in 2021.

Poe said the MWSS RO needs to reexamine its approach and understand why it isn’t effective.

It can be recalled that when the MWSS fined Manila Water over ₱1 billion in 2019, the company improved its services.

“Regulators are expected to primarily protect consumers and take it to heart. Maynilad customers in the south of Metro Manila have had to deal with the harrowing situation for two consecutive Christmases now. This is too much," Poe said.

The senator also noted that Maynilad’s net income exceeded ₱6 billion in 2021 and 2020, according to its 2021 financial statement.

"With all that declared income earned by the concessionaire as many consumers' taps turned dry, not only do they ask why the fine remains small in relation to the extent of their suffering, but also why they have to continue to live with such inconvenience," she added.

RELATED: MWSS to Maynilad: Explain recurring water interruptions