Press Release
May 10, 2006


The Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources will conduct an inquiry on 'twin threats' to the La Mesa Dam watershedthe proposed 58-hectare housing project for MWSS employees, and the three-hectare executive housing village for the agency's top officials which is already under construction.

Committee Chair Senator Pia S. Cayetano said the hearing will be held on Tuesday, May 16, and will invite groups for and against the housing projects led by the MWSS employees' union and environmentalists under the Save the La Mesa Dam coalition.

"Apparently, the watershed is threatened not by just one, but two housing projects," Cayetano said. "The hearing will look into allegations that waste water coming from the housing projects could contaminate water in the La Mesa reservoir."

The committee will invite experts from the UP National Hydraulic Center, which released a report critical of the housing project, the Philippine Environment and Social Assessment Network which is supporting the project, as well as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Top officials of the MWSS led by Administrator Orlando Hondrade will be asked to shed light on the three-hectare executive village that was reported today in the Manila Times.

Cayetano said MWSS executives who earlier opposed the construction of a 58-hectare housing project for the agency's employees, should explain their apparent silence on the housing villas already being built for them.

"MWSS officials should come clean on this issue. All this time, they had been issuing statements against the housing project for their rank-and-file employees for posing risks to the watershed," she said.

"But as it turns out, their (executives) own housing project is already in existence and almost ready for occupancy."

"It's not an issue whether the housing project is for ordinary employees or officials. We should look into both projects in view of their potential threat to the watershed, which is the main source of water for Metro Manila's 12 million residents," she concluded.

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