by Carmelo Eduardo Mesa and Kimberly Mae Z. Argosino
Water is a necessity. We cannot live without water as it provides the basic functions of our daily lives: drinking, washing our clothes, cleaning.
Most of us struggle to wake up early in the morning or wait until the late hours of the night just to store water in their pails and other water containers. Lucky for those who live in the downtown area – where water runs for twelve hours, or better yet, does not cease to flow – they do not go into the trouble of keeping water in containers. Meanwhile, some of us only receive a little amount of water – droplets, or even worse, just air.
Taking a look at our water bills, with service fees and other taxes, is this really the price we pay for such a frustrating service?
Quezon Metropolitan Water District (QMWD) was one of the earliest water district established in the Philippines. Known previously as LUPATA (Lucena, Pagbilao, Tayabas), it started its operation way back January 29, 1975. QMWD visioned that their concessionaires will receive a continuous supply of water for 24 hours straight.
But, this vision remained just a fragment of a dream for it has never been translated into radical, concrete actions – just a bunch of words painted in thin air.
News circulated that the water company owned and operated by the Provincial Government will enter into a joint-venture agreement into a Private water company.
But the water district administrators denied it, quoting that these are only rumors to pull the company down. They insisted that the water company will not enter any joint-venture agreement for the sake of public interest.
Secrets never really sleep in silence as their concessionaires were shocked when they received a leaflet saying that QMWD signed a Joint-Venture Agreement between Prime Waters, a private water servicing company owned by the Villar Clan.
After this, a lot of frustratingly noticeable changes took place. Previously, the supply of water in downtown areas continuously run for 24 hours. But, as the number of people in the city continues to hike up, QMWD decided to cut out the water supply to 12 hours only.
Tayabas on the other hand never felt the services that they were paying for. Insisting that their place is where water is sourced from but is unable to quench their own thirst.
What people really want is efficient and reliable water service. They feel robbed out of the opportunity to receive what they pay for. More importantly, failure to deploy effective services ransack residents of their rights to the most basic human need – clean water. Their waters are dirtied and made rancid by greedy and hungry, private-owning entities that empty their pockets without giving anything of value in return.
People whose thirst are founded on Prime Water’s services are also thirsty for significant changes. They want to see that their water bills reflect the quality of the water they receive. They want to be treated humanely and fairly – is this too much to ask?
There has been a saying that a human could survive for three weeks without food but only three days without water. In this plight under PrimeWater’s condition, people may not be even able to survive a single day, under the dirty hands of their ineffective and inefficient services.