The Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed on third and final reading renewed franchises of Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Co. Inc. for another 25 years.
This, after setting the bar high, said Senator Grace Poe, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Services tasked to review and endorse public franchises.
Voting 23-0, the Senate granted the two water companies with 25-year franchise extension with Maynilad Water Services Inc. retaining its concession in the west zone of Metro Manila and the province of Cavite as provided in House Bill (HB) 9422, with Manila Water Co. Inc.
continuing its services covering the east zone of Metro Manila and the province of Rizal under HB 9423.
Sen. Poe projected that in the next 25 years, “we must challenge our water concessionaires to be able to provide better water services in the new normal with clear long-term goals and short-term targets that would address water scarcity.”
She pointed out that since both water concessionaires were granted concession agreements for water and sewerage services back in 1997, the new agreement included
amendments that set higher expectations for water service providers.
Poe confirmed one of the amendments requires the concessionaires to submit a completion plan for the establishment and operation of water, sewerage and sanitation projects covering a period until 2037 that includes five-year completion targets with the end goal of achieving 100-percent combined sewerage and sanitation coverage.
Other amendments introduced in the agreement mandates the concessionaires to institute mechanisms that will facilitate consultation with the stakeholders on their services and create employment opportunities that prioritize the residents of the area where the concessionaire operates.
“Delivering a public service, especially one as essential as water supply, means putting the well-being of the community and its people first. More than providing accessible and affordable clean water, we must collaborate with the people we serve to know how we can deliver better,” Poe said.
The Revised Concession Agreement also includes a tariff freeze until December 2022 where the National Capital Region won’t experience an increase in water rates until next year.