WATER “woes,” or lack of supply, continue to bedevil for informal settler families (ISF) from Metro Manila who had been relocated to San Jose del Monte (SJDM) City in Bulacan province.
This, allegedly due to the continued failure of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to provide the required water allocation in the district despite its agreement with the local water administration and the provincial government.
In a privilege speech by SJDM Rep. Florida “Rida” Robes in the House of Representatives recently, she revealed that MWSS has not provided since 2014 the supposed additional 30 million liters per day of raw water allocation to her city that it committed under the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) they signed with the Provincial Government of Bulacan, the Local Water Utilities Administration, and the San Jose Del Monte Water District in January 28, 2014.
The MOA covers the National Government’s commitment to provide adequate and clean water supply for the various housing projects of the National Housing Authority (NHA) in San Juan del Monte for 25,920 families who used to be informal settlers in Metro Manila but agreed to be relocated, provided they receive full services like water, schools and access to jobs and markets.
Robes said that in reality, these residents up to now suffer from limited to no water supply on a daily basis.
She worries that the incoming additional 5,000 informal settler families (ISFs) who are set to be relocated in her district before 2018 will also suffer from the same sorry living condition if the MWSS continues to ignore its obligation to provide and allocate the water it committed to these housing areas.
The City Government of San Jose del Monte led by Mayor Arturo Robes and Rep. Robes are working hand-in-hand with NHA General Manager Marcelino Escalada to ensure that the basic needs of this impending relocation will be provided for.
Last year, the San Jose Water District completed the construction of a 10 million-liter capacity treatment plant to augment the necessary water needs. However, the water district is still unable to draw supply from either MWSS or from the Common Purpose Facilities Operations.
“It appears now that our Calvary is never ending!
“We have long borne the burden of receiving and giving new life to thousands of displaced populations of Metro Manila. Now, here is yet another one that places our endurance to a supreme test -- coping with water crisis!” Robes exclaimed.
She called the attention of MWSS, through Engr. Ramon Fabul, to immediately act on the “long overdue requests” of the San Jose Del Monte Water District.
“How I wish that the national government takes heed of our problem of water supply, particularly in those relocation sites,” she said.
The lady solon also expressed disdain towards misinformation spread by political opponents using the water problem as an election issue.
“Destructive modes of criticisms, such as those carried out through mass actions, ‘bad-mouthing’ and peddling lies and false information in social media and other media platforms, are most unfair and inhuman,” including getting the blame for the water tank explosion in Barangay Muzon last year.
“We weren’t remiss in our efforts. We never rested in finding a lasting and durable solution to this problem, if only to make sure there would be available supply of water to all,” she said.
She also called on to the national government to keep an open eye and not leave to the local government units the completion of the country’s major infrastructure projects like the P24.41-billion Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project which is planned to help meet the increasing water demand in the province.