It seems quite hilarious that the possibility that the water “crisis” gripping Metro Manila at the moment has an obvious solution. Reports of a certain Angel Salazar who claims to have been an employee of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) from 1982 to 2012 that a certain “bypass” only needs to be “opened” to relieve the supply issues supposedly plaguing Metro Manilans has been making the rounds. A certain Miles Jamito posted screenshots on Facebook of what looks like a conversation between Salazar and MWSS Chief Regulator Patrick Ty where Salazar suggests in one detailed explanation how private interests may be at work preventing this obvious solution from being implemented.
According to Salazar (edited for readability based on the above-mentioned screenshots);
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Maynilad wants [radial gates LP1 and LP2] closed because they could not draw more than their allocation if [these are] open. Hydraulically, even if [these gates] are fully open, they are limited because of the drop in hydraulic head at the portal. That is why Maynilad will do everything to have [these always closed. Then comes] the MWSS Regulatory Board which is a government agency [tasked with overseeing the two concessionaires], Maynilad and Manila Water, and the magic happens and the bypass is closed creating a water crisis at Manila Water East Zone.
The bypass was conceptualized and constructed to bypass seepage and evaporation losses if raw water from Angat Dam is made to pass through the La Mesa Dam. It is for this reason that it should always be open. [Water is wasted if it is made to flow through La Mesa reservoir. More imporantly,] this is the only control that Manila Water has to get its 40% share and prevent Maynilad from getting more than its 60% share.
OPEN THE BYPASS and see the result.
If these are all true, then it is clear that the water crisis is not a real problem. It is not even a case of negligence. It seems to be a case of a deliberate triangle of collusion amongst private enterprises and stage agencies. The executives of two private entities, Manila Water and Maynilad are very likely aware of both (1) the artificial problem caused by the measures their companies may have taken to deliberately degrade the efficiency of the supply infrastructure their respective businesses tap and (2) an ongoing effort to ensure that the regulatory body (or crooked individuals within it) is in on the conspiracy to ring-fence private interests to the detriment of public welfare.
Indeed, stepping back to regard the bigger picture, this “problem” is no different from the enormous traffic problem paralysing Metro Manila. The traffic problem in Metro Manila is also a result of private interests deliberately hindering traffic flow between ring-fenced enclaves, private infrastructure domains, and zones made exclusive by nothing more than illegal entitlement.
There is a bigger principle at work here that is a common denominator that underlies both the water and traffic “crises” that crush the spirits of the inhabitants of an entire major capital magalopolis. The good news here is that at the root of these vast engineered crises are just a tiny handful of powerful players — two or three huge private oligarch-run corporations engaged in the “development” of property and infrastructure and just two “regulators” who are likely to be in their payroll — the MWSS, in the case of water supply, and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) perhaps, in the case of traffic.
As such, the solution is, in essence, a top-down one. It could begin by having the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) initiate an investigation of the Boards of Directors and Trustees of these corporations and government agencies focusing on how complicit their top executives are in perpetuating problems that could have been easily solved if they had done their jobs properly.
Best of all, this is campaign season and candidates desperate for fodder for campaign promises are in the homestretch of their campaigns. This is a high-profile issue with an obvious solution that impacts ordinary voters and has on exhibit lots of big juicy heads that could be made to roll when and if the NBI steps up to the challenge and gets the wheels of justice spinning.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.