As much as P9 trillion of the national budget for 2018 has been earmarked for infrastructure over five years under the government’s “Build, Build Build” program, according to Public Works Secretary Mark A. Villar.
Addressing the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) 140th anniversary last Wednesday, Villar said the huge allocation will finance such projects as railway system and interisland bridges that will spur development in the provinces and decongest Metro Manila.
Villar congratulated MWSS Chairman Franklin J. Demonteverde and Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco for what MWSS has achieved in just a year to ensure clean, affordable and sustainable water for the 20 million customers in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
Serving as guests of honor for the event were former President Fidel V. Ramos and Villar who officially represented President Duterte.
Velasco and Demonteverde led employees in welcoming guests from the water agency’s three concessionaires: Manila Water, Maynilad and Luzon Clean Water Development Corp.; former MWSS officials; and dignitaries during the launching of the MWSS coffee-table book From Carriedo to Balara: Celebrating 140 Years of MWSS and Ensuring Water Security at the new world-class MWSS Multi-Purpose Hall, which was blessed and formally inaugurated along with the new cafeteria and the presentation of the Palafox Master Plan for the MWSS Water Eco Tourism Hub. The commemorative book, authored and published by Media Touchstone Ventures, Inc. president Melandrew Velasco, was among the major highlights of the MWSS 140th anniversary celebration.
In his welcome remarks, Velasco recalled that the 140th anniversary celebration coincides with his first anniversary at the helm of the water agency. “What a year it has been after being plucked out from retirement to serve this great water institution under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte,” he said.
Velasco acknowledged the presence of Ramos, the acknowledged father of the MWSS privatization. The successful public-private partnership is now 20 years old and is being replicated in other parts of the country and in countries of the Asia-Pacific region.
Apart from the book launch, other activities for the 140th anniversary celebration included the unveiling of the MWSS multipurpose gymnasium and cafeteria markers, presentation of water ecotourism master plan and the presentation of the MWSS/concessionaries
Velasco thanked the concessionaires Manila Water, Maynilad and Luzon Clean Water Development Corp. represented by President and CEO Ferdinand de la Cruz, President and CEO Ramoncito Fernandez and Engr. Edgar Dona, respectively.
The gymnasium and cafeteria are anniversary gifts of Maynilad and Manila Water to MWSS, which, according to Velasco, are “done anchored on corporate social responsibility and in the spirit unity, solidarity and teamwork, or UST, to borrow FVR’s credo of nation building.”
The two concessionaires also funded the MWSS water eco-tourism hub whose master plan was developed by world-famous architect Felino Palafox Jr. The transformation of the old Balara picnic grove into a modern water eco-tourism hub will make it environmentally compliant.