The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) lambasted the government of Benigno Aquino III for “exhibiting sheer insensitivity, immaturity and incompetence in face of the grave water crisis in Metro Manila and nearby areas.”
“Despite long queues of people desperate for a pail of water and, worse, reports of zero water supply in several barangays, Aquino had the gall to deny that there is no water crisis. The Aquino government has shown sheer insensitivity to the plight of more than a million residents in some 120 barangays in Metro Manila and Cavite who have been experiencing severe shortage of potable water for the past two weeks.”
“By adopting a hands-off policy, Aquino has left the problem to private profit-makers in the water industry,” said the CPP. “By deploying soldiers to secure private water tankers ‘to deal with agitated residents,’ the Aquino regime even shows total contempt for the mass of urban dwellers demanding clean water. Aquino is exposing his inclination to resort to military force when confronted with crisis.”
“The Aquino government has shown more interest in small gimmicks like banning ‘wangwang,’ rather than paying attention to bigger and more serious problems affecting the people, making deeper analyses and coming out with more relevant and strategic solutions. It is now at a loss regarding the essential things to do in the face of the Metro water crisis and has instead resorted to knee-jerk reactions.
“The current water crisis highlights the long-term decay of public infrastructure brought about by the state’s policy of abandonment in favor of the denationalization and privatization of water services, power generation and other public utilities and strategic facilities,” said the CPP.
The CPP pointed out that the major players in the water industry in Metro Manila and nearby areas are all private operations of foreign and comprador rentiers whose principal objective is monopoly profits and not really public service.
“Water services in Metro Manila are totally in the hands of big bourgeois comprador family firms and their imperialist partners. Maynilad which monopolizes the supply of water for the West Zone is owned by the Consunjis and PLDT’s Manny Pangilinan in partnership with the French water utilities giant Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux, while Manila Water which monopolizes the East Zone is owned by the Ayalas in partnership with the US engineering giant Bechtel and the British utilities giant United Utilities,” the CPP elaborated.
“Foreign and comprador private water service concessionaires have been raking in profits by jacking up its rates without concomitantly raising the quality of their services and ensuring long-term sustainability of the infrastructure to avert such a crisis of public service as Metro Manila residents are suffering now, especially in the more socio-economically depressed sections of the metropolis,” the CPP said further.
“On the other hand,” the CPP added, “operations of water reservoirs such as the Angat Dam, are being geared towards more profitable power generation over irrigation and supplying clean water resulting not only in a shortage of potable water supply for Metro Manila and nearby areas, but also of irrigation water. This has resulted in massive damage to crops amounting to at least P10 billion during the drought season in the early part of this year.”