METRO MANILANS  MAY HAVE TO PAY SEWERAGE CHARGES

MANILA
, June 11 , 2004
 (STAR)
By Des Ferriols  -  With a water crisis looming in the horizon, the government said yesterday that Metro Manila residents may have to pay sewerage charges even if the government subsidizes part of the costs of critical sewerage facilities.

The government has begun a comprehensive study of its policy options under the Third Sewerage Project including the possibility of government subsidy.

Preparations for the project, according to the Department of Finance, include a study on the willingness of communities to pay for new sewerage charges.

DOF said the government has secured a grant from the World Bank (WB) to finance the preparations for the multi-billion peso project that would decentralize sewerage and sanitation facilities in the capital.

The WB and the DOF finalized the agreement yesterday for a grant assistance worth close to P56 million to the cash-strapped Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).

According to Finance Secretary Juanita Amatong, the project is intended to reduce pollution and sewerage-related health hazards in Metro Manila which has been tagged as one of the most heavily polluted capitals in Asia.

Amatong said the preparatory study will have to sort through key public policies, including the possible subsidy that the government would have to shell out for the project.

"First, we have to determine the appropriate policy on sewer charges including subsidy amounts as necessary," Amatong said.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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