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Palace: Water shortage ‘could be artificial’

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PRESIDENTIAL Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo. — PHILSTAR/JOVENCIO CAGANDE

By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

PRESIDENTIAL Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said on Thursday the government will look into Manila Water’s service interruptions in Metro Manila, saying the water shortage “could be artificial.”

He added that an inquiry will be made via an executive order.

“As far as that particular dam (Angat Dam) is concerned — puno…so bakit nagkakakulang iyong distribution…. Iyon ang sigurong alamin natin bakit, ba’t nagkaganoon,” Mr. Panelo said in a press briefing at the Palace. (As far as that particular dam is concerned, it is full. So why is there a shortage? We should probably find out why it happens).




He added: “Artificial lang iyon, kung ganoon. Because if the source is puno, and another concessionaire [Maynilad Water Services, Inc.] is puno also, eh bakit naman iyong isa [Manila Water Company, Inc.] hindi? Iyon ang logic doon.” (It could be artificial if that is the case. Because if the source is full, and another concessionaire [Maynilad Water Services, Inc.] is also full, then why is the other one [Manila Water Company, Inc.] not? That is the logic there).

Mr. Panelo said Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana shared in the Cabinet’s online chat group that the water level in Angat Dam is still normal.

Sinasabi ni Secretary Lorenzana doon sa kaniyang (said in his) chat na (that) the water comes from Angat Dam and there is no shortage doon (there); as far as that particular dam is concerned — puno (full), walang kulang (no shortage),” he said.

Iimbestigahan kung bakit, ano bang nangyari? Sasama iyan sa executive order (There will be an investigation to find out why this happened. That’s part of the Executive Order).”

Mr. Panelo also said, “Kung totoo na puno ang Angat Water Dam, ibig sabihin inefficiency iyan, mismanaged (If it is true that Angat Dam is full, then it means inefficiency, mismanaged).”

Manila Water, one of the capital’s two concession holders, said on March 8 that it implemented “operational adjustments” that resulted in low pressure or no water.

For its part, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said it has released P18.3 million to regional offices of the Department of Agriculture (DA) for cloud seeding operations in an effort to tackle the water-supply problem confronting parts of Metro Manila since last weekend.

NDRRMC said cloud seeding is being recommended for Regions 2 and 12 between March 14 to May 21.

“We want to assure the public that the government is doing everything to ensure adequate water supply for all. These agencies present in today’s meeting, especially those working with the water sector, will continue to collaborate to provide these needed services to the public,” NDRRMC Executive Director Ricardo B. Jalad said in a statement late Tuesday evening.

For his part, Air Force Spokesperson Major Aristides M. Galang, Jr. said, “Siguro by Saturday or Sunday na mag-start na ‘to, kasi prini-prepare pa natin ‘yung mga eroplano…. Ang initial natin will be Cauayan [in Isabela].” (Maybe we can start by Saturday or Sunday, because we are still preparing the aircraft….We still start the operations in Cauayan [in Isabela]).

The Air Force said the GAF N-22 Nomad will be fitted with cloud seeding equipment at the Buenito Air Base in Cebu City. Operations will be carried out by the 900th Air Force Weather Group.

NDRRMC said the Department of Interior and Local Government will issue a memorandum circular to all local government units to enact ordinances curbing illegal connections and encouraging the prudent use of water. — with Vince Angelo C. Ferreras