SENATOR Mary Grace Natividad S. Poe-Llamanzares, who chairs the chamber’s Committee on Public Services, said her panel will subject the water franchise bills to the required scrutiny, following allegations the measures were rushed by the House.

“Businesses imbued with public interest must ensure that citizens’ welfare takes precedence over private profit,” Ms. Poe said in a statement.

Ms. Poe made the remarks after claims that the franchise bills for Manila Water Co., Inc. and Maynilad Water Services, Inc. were approved too quickly in the House.

Voting was 206-7-0 for both House Bill (HB) No. 9422 and HB No. 9423, which granted separate 25-year congressional franchises to the two companies.

She said the bills must “address the looming water scarcity exacerbated by the growing demand for the commodity and the lack of urgency in tapping new sustainable sources.”

“We must put an end to the woes drowning many households for years due to lack of safe water to drink, high rates and constant supply interruption,” said Ms. Poe. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan