MANILA -- Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Reynaldo Velasco on Wednesday said he is willing to resign if the water shortage problem in Metro Manila persists.
Velasco made this remark a day after President Rodrigo R. Duterte threatened to fire MWSS officials and terminate water concessionaires’ contracts over the water crisis in a meeting with them in Malacañan Palace on Tuesday night.
“Kakayanin natin ‘yan (We can do it). If I cannot do it, I will resign immediately,” Velasco said in Palace briefing, stressing that the President did not ask them to step down right at that moment.
“Di naman niya sinabi ‘You are fired’. Ang sinabi niya, ‘Okay, ayusin niyo yung trabaho niyo, i-submit yung report, pag hindi niyo kaya, you have to go (He didn’t tell us ‘You are fired’. He said, ‘okay, do your job properly, submit the report. If you can’t do it, you have to go’),” he added.
The MWSS chief, however, said he was willing to tender his resignation if the President asked him to since he understood the chief executive’s sentiments.
“Kung hiningi niya kagabi na ang buong board, I will take responsibly. Eh di niya tinanong e kaya nandito pa ako (If he asked the entire board to resign, I will take responsibly. But he didn’t, so I’m still here),” Velasco said.
“We are serving under the pleasure of the President. Pag the President pinalitan ka (If the President replaces you), do not question kasi (because) that’s (his) prerogative. Your appointment comes from him, he is the only one who can change it,” he added.
Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said an “outraged” Duterte gave MWSS and water concessionaires until April 10 to submit a report on measures to address the water shortage and prevent it from recurring.
Velasco expressed confidence that his agency and the concessionaires would successfully coordinate to provide short, medium, and long-term solutions to keep the water supply steady.
He refused to put the blame on parties involved in the water shortage problem and instead preferred to provide a solution to the problem while admitting his agency had its shortcomings.
Citing Manila Water, Velasco assured that the water supply in Metro Manila will be restored to 99 percent before the end of the month.
As of Tuesday, he said there are still at least 11 barangays (villages) in Metro Manila still affected by water shortage.
Among the plans discussed to solve the water shortage problem include the completion of the PHP12.2-billion Chinese-funded Kaliwa Dam, cloud-seeding operations, and a 50-year master plan to stabilize the country’s water supply.
Velasco also expressed hope the Kaliwa Dam project will be finished before the end of the President’s term. (PNA)
Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler