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Group questions basis for rate-rebasing, blasts water privatization

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pr2MANILA, PHILIPPINES—On the first day of public consultations regarding proposed hikes in Metro Manila water rates, a coalition of anti-water privatization advocates questioned the basis for the planned increases while blaming the government for privatizing a vital public service.

“Since the water service was privatized, we have seen a 1,000 increase in water rates in the Maynilad service area while rates in Manila Water’s zone has seen a 500 percent increase. This has made the cost of water in Metro Manila one of the highest in the region, putting it beyond the reach of the poorest Filipinos,” Arze Glipo, convener of the Water Watch Coalition said.

Water Watch criticized MWSS for providing very limited space for civil society and consumer groups to engage the regulators even as anti-privatization advocates complain of the direct line the water companies have to the top regulators.

“Previous rate-rebasing exercises were showcases of regulatory capture as the MWSS Regulatory Office showed an unwillingness to confront the two concessionaires on their failure to deliver on their obligations. This is one of the reasons we continue to oppose privatization. We thus see very little hope that the current rate rebasing process will be any different,” Glipo remarked.

Rate rebasing is a periodic review of the capital and operational expenditures of the water concessionaires done every five years for the purpose of setting or adjusting the water rates for both concessions.

“Based on the figures from the MWSS-RO, 200,000 families in Metro Manila remain without access to safe and clean water. Add to this the 1.54 billion liters of water which continues to leak from Manila Water and Maynilad service areas, resulting in high volumes of non-revenue water. Is this their idea of quality service? Why should we pay higher rates for poor service?” Glipo added.

For the current round of rate rebasing, Manila Water has asked for a rate increase of P6 while Maynilad is requesting a hike of P8.


Water Watch Coalition
Integrated Rural Development Foundation

Anabelle Vitacion (09053921655)                                   
Arze Glipo (09178576203)


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