The country’s policy makers seem oblivious to the harmful impact of the water privatization in Metro Manila, as they continue to push for legislations that will encourage the sale of water service providers nationwide.
According to the national campaign alliance Water for the People Network (WPN), the Senate Bill (SB) 2997 is leading the ongoing moves to privatize water districts and local water providers nationwide. If approved, the people’s access to water would likely worsen, similar to the effect of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) privatization in 1997.
Since the sale of MWSS, water rates in Metro Manila have increased up by 564% to more than 1,000 percent. During the same period (1997-2012), water districts around the country have increased rates by 134% for those consuming 11-20 cubic meters. These rates could increase more sharply if water districts were privatized like what SB 2997 envisions.
Moreover, the Aquino administration’s efforts to push for public-private partnerships (PPP) are creating corporate opportunities that will take over the water sector. There are already projects identified for urgent implementation like the New Centennial Water Source Project and the Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project, and the additional 13 PPP projects (of which 10 projects cost a total of almost Php117 billion) for medium-term rollout that could affect people’s access to water.
To push for the campaign against efforts to privatize water service nationwide, consumer groups, water activists and water district unions under the WPN and Water System Employees Response (Water) will hold a national assembly on November 20 at UP Diliman. The conference is expected to consolidate the different campaigns of local water districts, communities and other vulnerable sectors. (end)
** Members of the media are cordially invited to the press briefing 'Stop the privatization of water districts and water providers'. This will be at 11:30am, November 20 at the Bulwagang Tandang Sora, CSWCD, UP DIliman
The WATER FOR THE PEOPLE NETWORK is a broad national network in the Philippines that campaigns for people’s control over water services and resources. It has more than 100 member organizations from all over the country.