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MWSS vows to support Manila Bay rehab, comply with SC order

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System is working double time to ensure full compliance to the Supreme Court’s continuing mandamus among its concessionaires.

This was disclosed by MWSS Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco after meeting separately with Manila Water and Maynilad officials to discuss ways to speed up the two concessionaires’ compliance to the SC order even as he intends to ask the concessionaires to adjust their targets for the years 2022-2037. 

“This is a welcome move by all parties concerned led by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu. As I have always emphasized in various fora, cleaning up Manila Bay is everybody’s concern to include ordinary Filipinos who must embrace self-discipline as a way of life,” Velasco said.  “The two concessionaires have agreed to fast track their roadmap to full compliance to the SC mandamus.” 

Velasco admitted that only 15 percent of water consumers are connected to sewer lines and as provided in the concession agreement, full sewer and sanitation coverage should be 100 percent by 2037. 

“There was much focus on securing delivery of efficient potable water system over the last 22 years from only 53 percent coverage to 97 percent coverage in Metro Manila and adjoining provinces such as Rizal and Cavite,” Velasco said. 

“On sewer coverage alone, Manila Water started only with three percent in 1997 when it took over the East Zone. Now it has 20 percent coverage for facilities which is seven times increase. Maynilad is now operating its P1.7 billion sewage treatment plant in San Dionisio, Parañaque as part of its stepped up support for Manila Bay clean up,” Velasco said. 

To implement its wastewater management program, East Zone concessionaire Manila Water has its Used Water Master Plan. 

According to Manila Water president and CEO Ferdinand M. dela Cruz, as of end-November last year, it has already installed 140,245 sewer connections since the start of its concession period with 5,135 accounting for new sewer connections from January-November 2018. 

Manila Water currently operates and maintains 38 sewage treatment plants (STP) and 2 septage treatment plants (SpTP). Two of its largest sewage treatment plants to date are the Taguig North and Marikina North Sewage Treatment Plants, the most recent additions to its waste water facilities. Discharge from these treatment plants has consistently passed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources effluent quality standards. 

“To date, Manila Water has spent P33 billion for used water from 1997 to 2018. It has programmed P36.8 billion from 2018 to 2022 and a total of P115 billion from 2018 to 2037 to be spent for used water infrastructure,” De la Cruz said. 

On the other hand, West Zone concessionaire Maynilad increased its sewerage coverage to 20 percent as of end 2018 from only 6 percent in 2007 when it took over the concession, spending around P23.3 billion. 

“We have a road map towards the attainment of 100% coverage by the end of the concession period, and we are working with our government partners to facilitate completion of our sewerage projects,” Maynilad President and CEO Ramoncito Fernandez said. 

Maynilad operates 19 sewage treatment plants, two sewage and septage treatment plants, and one septage treatment plant with a combined treatment capacity of an estimated 662,000 cubic meters of wastewater per day. It is building wastewater treatment facilities in Valenzuela, Cavite City and in Tunasan and Cupang in Muntinlupa. Upon completion of the projects, sewerage coverage is expected to increase to 26 percent.

“Increasing sewerage coverage by just one percent requires an average investment of about P1.6 billion, so the level of investment to enhance the wastewater infrastructure is huge. Nevertheless, this is something we have to do to ensure environmental sustainability” said Fernandez.

For areas not connected to sewer lines, both concessionaires offer free desludging services. 

Meanwhile,  the Presidential Commission on Urban Poor on Wednesday vowed to fully support the rehabilitation and cleanup of Manila Bay to make it swimmable.

PCUP chairperson and chief executive officer Alvin Feliciano said he recently met with 13 other mandamus agencies and non-government organizations to thresh out the details of their participation in the rehabilitation effort. With Rio Araja

Topics: Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System , Supreme Court’ , Reynaldo V. Velasco , Manila Water , Maynilad
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