OPPOSITION lawmakers filed a joint resolution calling for the suspension of a scheduled increase in water rates in Metro Manila and surrounding areas served by two private concessionaires, citing the need to help consumers cope with inflation.  

Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene D. Brosas led the filing of House Joint Resolution 17, calling on both lower and upper chambers to immediately pass legislation that will defer the approved water price hikes of Maynilad Water Services, Inc. and Manila Water Services, Inc.   

The increase, approved by government regulator Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), takes effect this month.  

The resolution was also signed by ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France L. Castro and Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Danniel A. Manuel. 

It cites the countrys record-high December inflation rate at 8.1%. 

This will only exacerbate the plight of the poor families who are struggling to make ends meet,the resolution states.  

Maynilad is the water provider for 17 cities and municipalities in the west zone of the Metropolitan Manila area, while Manila Water services 23 cities and municipalities in the east zone.  

The water service operations of MWSS was privatized in 1997. The winning concessionaires took over billions worth of government loans and a distribution system that was losing water at a rate of at least 60%. Beatriz Marie D. Cruz