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Group decries privatization of local water districts

Group decries privatization of local water districts

Members of the Water System Employees’ Response (Water) held a press conference at the Balay Kalinaw, UP Diliman on Thursday (Aug. 22, 2019). Image: Katrina Hallare/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — A group fighting to stop the privatization of local water districts on Thursday decried that some big businesses are not only involved in such a scheme but also have control on certain water districts.

In a press conference held at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, the Water System Employees Response claimed that some private companies are now in control of local water districts.

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Rudy Aranjuez, National President of the Water System Employees Response, said that Prime Water owned by the Villars, Metro Pacific owned by Manny V. Pangilinan and Manila Water Inc. owned by the Ayalas are some of the companies that have engaged in the privatization of local water districts.

Some water districts that have been privatized are in Lemery, Batangas; Los Baños, Laguna; Daraga, Albay; Mabalacat, Pampanga; San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan; and Metro Quezon.

The group also claimed that 42 local water districts nationwide are currently owned by Prime Water.

“Sa ngayon, marami nang local water districts na inangkin sa Villar family, yung Prime Water, umabot na raw ng mahigit 40 yung local water district,” Aranjuez said.

Aranjuez, who is also union president of Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Davao City (Namadacwad), also claimed that these companies have control in other water districts in some parts of the country.

“Sa Tagum City, Batangas, [sakop] ‘yun ng [mga] Ayala. Sa Davao, [mga] Aboitiz, unahin nila yung buck water, yung supply, sila na yung mag-supply sa mga local water district,” he said.

“Yung sa Cagayan, [kay] Pangilinan. Prime Water rin sa Zamboanga, sa Cotabato. Ang problema, base sa experience, sa Iloilo at sa Cagayan ngayon, lalamunin nila lahat ng operation na. Gusto nila total privatization.”

With this, the Water System Employees’ Response urged to stop such schemes.

“Kaya kami sa Water System Employees’ Response, nananawagan na tigilan ang patakaran na yan. Hindi ‘yan maganda,” Aranjuez said.

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He also urged President Rodrigo Duterte: “Tulungan po kami na kung pwede lang, ihinto na ‘yan. Di dapat gawing negosyo, lalo na ang serbisyo sa tubig, kasi pinakamahalaga ang tubig sa tao at para sa bayan.”

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