SANTA ROSA CITY, Laguna — Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday called for stricter monitoring of government transactions, stressing the need for greater transparency about contracts entered into by government agencies with the private sector, especially with public utility service providers.
Poe, who spoke before a multisectoral forum composed mostly of women’s and senior citizen groups at the Holy Rosary College, told participants that their Senate hearings were likely instrumental in the decision by the Manila Water management to implement a one-time bill waiver scheme in view of the company’s inability to provide adequate water to its customers.
“Ang dahilan po kaya may mga hearings sa Senado ay para mabusisi ang trabaho na nasa gobyerno, pati na rin ang pribadong sektor (the reason for the Senate hearings is to probe government transactions including the private sector),” the lady Senator explained citing their latest Senate hearing on the water crisis affecting Metro Manila areas.
She said the Senate investigation has been fruitful as far as tracing the problem and coming up with solutions to address the water crisis, including pointing to accountable government and private sector officials.
“Pag nagiimbestiga ka, huwag mahihiyang magtanong, kung gusto mong malaman ay katotohanan lamang (if you are investigating, don’t be shy to ask, if you would really want the truth),” Poe said, rousing cheers and applause from the multisectoral crowd.
She also explained that government’s proposal to construct the Kaliwa Dam in Quezon will boost water supply in Metro Manila, but pointed out the high interest rates on the loan agreement with China.
She said that if given a chance at another Senate term, she would strive to ensure that government transactions are scrutinized so that projects would be truly beneficial to the people and taxpayers’ money does not go to waste.
In an interview, Poe reiterated the need to pin down the root cause of the water crisis and to craft policies that will ensure that such a problem, which has affected a large number of Filipinos, does not happen again.
She said Manila Water has assured the Senate that it would immediately roll-out short-term solutions to the water supply shortage such as completing the Cardona Water Treatment Facility in Rizal province this April; activation of the deep wells that were previously shut down as well as water supply sharing with Maynilad Water.
Poe also said they may review the country’s laws on privatization and public-private partnerships as well as look into the performance of the Metropolitan Water and Sewerage System. (PNA)