DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Residents and small business operators are unaware of the proposed 60 percent water price hike in the city and are opposed to it for its timing in the pandemic.
The Davao City Water District (DCWD) is proposing a 60 percent hike which now awaits decision from the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA).
DCWD said the LWUA is waiting documentation from the company’s public consultations as part of the requirement for application, the water company’s spokesperson Jovana Cresta Duhaylungsod said in a press conference.
The proposed 60% water rate hike will be implemented in three tranches: 30 percent in 2022, 20 percent in 2023, and the remaining 10 percent in 2024.
In their public consultation last December 2021, DCWD will increase the cost for the first 10 cubic meters to P178.50 this 2022, which is P41.20 more from its current rate of P137.30.
In the following years 2023 and 2024, the per 10 cubic meter charges will be at P 214.40 and P235.60 respectively.
Residents interviewed by Davao Today express opposition to the proposed water rate increase.
Ramil Quimpo, a tricycle driver, said the increase in water price saying the timing is “insensitive”.
“Murag wala man na silay konsiderasyon mam oi. Naglisod naman tawon ang tawo karon kay pandemic na man gani magsige na man noon pasaka og bill. Naglisod na man gani mig pangita og kaonon kada adlaw (It seems they are not considerate. People are suffering in the pandemic and bills are increasing. We could hardly feed our families),” Quimpo said.
Quimpo’s monthly water bill ranges from P300 to P550 for a family of six. As the breadwinner of his family, he said that additional experience would mean he needs to do more extra jobs.
“Naglugos na man gani mig bayad anang P450 kada bulan. Kapila na mi hapit maputlan kay di mi kabayad dayon nya karon muhal pa gid (We are struggling to pay our P450 bill every month. We had our water supply disconnected many times before because it is expensive),” he complained.
Loriely 59, who owns a carenderia, said she only knew about it during the interview conducted by Davao Today. She spends around P900 to P1,200 per month for the water bill for her food store and another P400 water bill for her house.
But she said despite regular payment they experience poor water service many times. This situation in their water line has been a problem for decades ago, especially in their home in the Sasa area.
“Murag dili man sab ka maconvince nga mubayad og additional nya hinay kayo ang tubig. Tapos grabe pud nga mashock na lang ta nga ana ka daku (We are not convince to shell out more money because of the poor water supply. And now this is shocking they are increasing),” she said.
Despite these complaints of low supply and frequent water interruption from consumers, Duhaylunsod defended the proposed increase, as their office needs an additional budget for operation and funding for the projects set in the next 10 years.
“We’re looking at serving an additional 20 more barangays in the city. Right now we have 182 barangays, but we will only serve 116. There is still a long way to go,” she said.
Duhaylunsod also explained that low water sources experienced water interruption is due to leaking pipelines which had their breaking point last October 2021 which they are still trying to resolve.
DCWDs water loss is currently at 25 to 30 percent of its daily production due to problematic pipelines.
Duhaylunsod said that even with the proposed 60 percent increase in water bill it is far beyond the benchmark of affordability as based on LWUA guidelines water rate increase should not be more than five percent of the average income of the lowest income group of the city.
“(In terms of) affordability rate that is 5 percent of the lowest income group which is P500. So barato gihapon kaayo ang atong rate (Our rate is still low) in Davao City compared to other water districts in the country,” she said. (davaotoday.com)