16 March 2019
Finger-pointing officials frowned upon, fanning peoples’ frustrations – senate bet
Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) senatorial bet Leody de Guzman called on both government officials and the management of water concessionaires to “cease from blaming each other and act as one” to address the water shortage that hit Metro Manila.
De Guzman also called on private, individual experts knowledgeable to what may have caused the problem to come forward and assist in the efforts to stabilize the supply of water.
“Water is life and all the finger-pointing and obvious lack of a concerted action between the companies, state agencies and technological experts will further bring chaos,” said De Guzman, leader of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino.
He adds that, “Charges and counter-charges are being thrown left and right by their spin doctors to salvage the reputations of those responsible to secure our water supply but not one has come forward to consolidate their efforts. Nahihilo na ang taumbayan sa kaka-spin nila, dino-doktor pa nila ang kanilang mga reports sa publiko”.
De Guzman claims that the real crisis that emerged is a crisis of response rooted in the lack of transparency and accountability and integrity.
“For the longest time, governments and the private sector involved in public utilities have kept people in the dark and the peoples’ right to access to basic necessities taken for granted and merely treated as clients. This has got to end, access to water is our unalienable right” he explained.
The senate bet of the Labor Win coalition is calling for the end of privatization and deregulation policies that led to the shortage and the succeeding failed responses by both government agencies and water concessionaires.
“The public is paying of their incompetence and if there is any truth to the allegations of mind conditioning to drum up support for the building of dams and reservoirs, they will not gain traction. Binding people to more private sector intrusion in essential services and more debt is what led us to this ‘crisis’ in the first place,” he expounded.
Government also culpable
Meanwhile, PLM chairperson and second nominee Sonny Melencio objected to a statement made by Undersecretary Benny Antiporda of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources fending of allegations that the administration is to blame for the crisis.
Firstly, Melencio said, “Usec. Antiporda seems to have believed their own propaganda that the private sector is competent enough to manage the necessities of the people and are now calling the concessionaires incompetent. The myth of private sector competence is now busted”.
“More importantly, this overreliance of the government for concessionaires to deliver basic human necessities is the bedrock of the crisis we face,” he adds.
He says despite the weak El Nino, “The water shortage crisis is man-made and can easily be corrected if we move towards regaining public ownership of the utilities. Privatization is a bane to the public. The government cannot delegate its mandate to work for the interests of the people to private entities”.
PLM is campaigning for all public services to be publicly owned and democratically controlled.
“If only Duterte governed in the way the people expect him to do so and terminate wasting time with his callous tirades against priests, women and the human rights community, he could have averted this crisis. Bottom line is, Duterte is as incompetent and accountable to the public,” Melencio alleged.###