Water interruptions loom as NWRB cuts allocation for Metro Manila

Robie de Guzman   •   June 14, 2019   •   2931

MANILA, Philippines – The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) has reduced the allocation for Metro Manila amid the continued drop in water levels at Angat Dam, which is the metropolis’ main water source, an official said Friday.

The NWRB lowered the allocation for Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to 46 cubic meters per second (CBS) for the month of June from the average 48 CBS last month.

NWRB director Servillano David said they were forced to cut down Metro Manila’s water allocation after water level at Angat dam dipped further. The latest water level is at 163.66 meters, which is 16 meters below the normal operating level of 180.

David said the current water level is expected to go down further in the coming days and may breach the critical level of 160 meters if there will be no enough rain at the Angat watershed area.

“Sa ganoong level po at 160 meters, magkakaroon na ng isyu in terms of availability ng supply,” he said.

“Sa ngayon bumababa pa rin siya despite the pronouncement ng PAGASA na parating na ang onset ng rainy season. ‘Yung mga pag-ulan na inaasahan natin dun sa Angat water shed ay hindi po dumarating,” he added.

Looming water service interruptions

With the dwindling water level at the Angat dam, consumers are told to brace for possible water interruptions.

East zone water concessionaire Manila Water Co. said it is already trying to manage its supply by implementing water interruptions during off-peak hours.

“Ang ginagawa lang natin ngayon, patuloy ang operational adjustment natin. Pero in the event na hindi na kaya ng sistema natin na mag-provide pa ng additonal water supply, talagang magbabawas tayo,” said Jeric Sevilla, spokesperson for Manila Water.

West Zone concessionaire Maynilad Water Services Inc., meanwhile, said it also implemented water interruptions from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. when water usage is usually low.

“During night time para po mabigyan kami ng pagkakataon na ma-refill ‘yung aming reservoirs para during peak hours naman po sa araw ay hindi po mararamdaman ng aming mga customer itong pagbaba ng supply sa Metro Manila,” said Ronald Padua, who heads Maynilad operations.

Water concessionaires said the limited water supply will especially affect consumers in elevated areas.

Consumers are advised to contact hotlines and social media accounts of Maynilad and Manila Water for further details on water service interruptions.

The NWRB also called on the public anew to use water responsibly and wisely, to store rainwater and to recycle wastewater for other purposes. (with details from Joan Nano)

Metro Manila may transition to GCQ after May 31 —Malacañang

Marje Pelayo   •   May 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 hopes to come up with a decision on whether to extend or lift the existing modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila and other areas in the country after May 31.

Malacañang sees a greater chance of transitioning from MECQ to general community quarantine (GCQ) come June 1 as recommended by National Task Force on COVID-19 Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.

“They gave their recommendation to the IATF but I can quote both of them, chances are we will in fact be transitioning to GCQ in Metro Manila according to the chief implementer and the DILG secretary,” noted Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque. 

The Metro Manila Council (MMC), likewise, recommended to the IATF to place the National Capital Region (NCR) to GCQ.

If that is so, public transport will be allowed but only on a limited capacity to ensure that minimum health standards are observed. 

Meanwhile, Roque appealed to both the public and private sectors to finalize their work schemes following the 50% operational capacity wherein half of the total number of employees will be working on site and half  will be working from home.

“We are appealing to both the private and public sector to ensure at least 50-50 workforce,” Roque said. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Walking for hours to reach work, home shouldn’t be part of ‘new normal’, Poe says

Robie de Guzman   •   May 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe on Wednesday called on the government to provide assistance to employees who are walking for kilometers from home to work and vice versa due to the still limited public transportation means amid the quarantine.

In a statement, Poe lamented reports on employees having to walk for hours to reach their workplaces and go home after the government eased the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) last May 16.

While the senator acknowledged the workers’ commitment and perseverance, she said this “must not be part of the ‘new normal’” amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.

“There’s no doubt about the commitment and perseverance of our workers to return to work to provide income for their families and help shore up businesses sidelined by the pandemic,” she said.

“But the daily commute and walk must not exact a toll on our workers — exposing them to the dangers in the streets and unfavorable weather conditions,” she added.

Some workers reportedly struggled to reach their workplaces on Monday when businesses and offices resumed partial operations after Metro Manila was placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

Poe said the government should do all it can to “alleviate the daily sufferings of our workers in getting to work” as public transportation services remain limited.

The senator also stressed that the “no work, no pay” employees will be most affected by this situation.

“Especially woeful are the situation of no-work, no-pay employees, who will not earn anything for the day if they fail to show up, or will be meted with deductions if they come late,” she said.

Under the MECQ guidelines issued by the government, select business establishments and offices have been allowed to resume half of their operations with limited workforce. Skeleton workforce and work from home arrangements may also be implemented.

The Department of Trade and Industry earlier urged employers who were allowed to resume operations to provide shuttle services to their employees.

PNP urges mall security execs to require quarantine passes, limit number of customers

Robie de Guzman   •   May 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday urged mall security managers to require quarantine passes from its customers to improve the implementation of social distancing measures and avoid mass gathering in malls.

Police Lieutenant Col. Guillermo Eleazar, chief of Joint Task Force Coronavirus (JTF CV) Shield, said mandating quarantine passes from customers entering malls will follow government’s guidelines in allowing only one person per household to go out and get essential goods and services amid the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

The PNP met with security management in malls in the National Capital Region earlier in the day to discuss the implementation of health and safety protocols following reports of crowding and lack of physical distancing when the malls partially opened on May 16 in MECQ areas.

Eleazar said the mall security managers were also reminded to strictly limit the number of people allowed to enter the malls as stated in the government’s guidelines.

“So una yung maximum number of customers, dapat yun lang ang papasok lang sa loob… It could be computed base doon sa 1 customer per 2 square meters doon sa mga open areas,” he said.

Mall security managers have also been urged to designate drop off and pick up points to ensure that those entering malls are allowed to avail goods and services.

Metro Manila is under MECQ until May 31.

Under this setup, select businesses and offices will be allowed to resume 50% of operations and workforce, provided that minimum health standards will be implemented.

The guidelines also state that only essential and non-leisure shops will be permitted to open, including hardware stores, office supplies and clothing and accessories stores.

The number of customers allowed inside the stores will also be limited, and elevators will only be allowed to ferry 50% of its total capacity with occupants observing social distancing measures.

Free mall WiFi connection will be disabled and air condition temperature will be regulated to 26 centigrade to discourage loitering and lingering of peopleinside the mall.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has earlier warned that malls partially opened during the MECQ will be ordered closed if they fail to implement social distancing measures. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

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