The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System on Wednesday ordered its two water concessionaires to implement a grace period and installment plan for the enhanced community quarantine and modified enhanced community quarantine water bills.
“In solidarity with the spirit and intentions of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), the MWSS Regulatory Office has directed Manila Water Co. Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc. to grant all customers a 30-day grace period to settle their water bills that fall due within the ECQ and MECQ, and implement a three-month installment scheme for all cooperatives: micro, small and medium enterprises and domestic customers after the grace period,” chief regulator Patrick Lester Ty said in a statement.
“The said directive will provide customers ample time to update payments for water bills that fell due within the 04 to 18 August 2020 MECQ period without incurring interests, penalties and other charges.”
Ty says the MWSS-Regulatory Office is assuring the public “that it will do everything in its mandate to protect their welfare and provide the assistance they need to alleviate the financial burden brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“We will abide by the Bayanihan Law and abide just as well by the 30-day grace period for ECQ and MECQ bills, since we have already been providing extended payment terms for our customers. If you will recall, all ECQ bills since March 2020 were given initially six months to settle their bills until Sept. 30,” Manila Water spokesman Jeric Sevilla told reporters in a text message.
“The 30-day grace period, especially for those MECQ bills covering Aug. 4-18, 2020, will provide them further relief. We have put off disconnection of services since the imposition of ECQ. Also, Manila Water does not charge customers with interest and penalties. Please note as well that before any current bill gets disconnected, there is already a 60-day window for customers to pay their bills.”
Sevilla says they will further discuss with MWSS-RO its directive on the installment scheme after the grace period “since we have been extending promissory agreement with our customers for all bills, ECQ, MECQ or not.
“Promissory arrangements, depending on customer’s paying capabilities, in fact, ranges from three to six months. We wish to assure our customers that Manila Water recognizes the plight of our customers given the current situation and we continue to provide all means possible to alleviate their payment concerns.”
As far as Maynilad is concerned, corporate communications head Jennifer Rufo told reporters “we will comply with the guidelines as we have always done.”