Firmly believing that access to clean water is a basic human right, Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (Maynilad) launched Samahang Tubig Maynilad (STM) in 2009 so it could provide informal settlers in its concession area with safe, affordable water.
To date, around 2,140 households in nine marginalized communities have benefitted from STM, with another 2,264 households targeted to become beneficiaries of the water concessionaire’s community development program. From P30 to P35 per drum, beneficiaries now only pay P10 per drum. And unlike the water bought from illegal water vendors, the water supplied by Maynilad is potable and fit for domestic consumption. As a result, residents are able to source more water for their daily requirements and still save on their water expenses.
Aside from generating savings for its beneficiaries and improving their sanitation conditions, STM has also been instrumental in empowering informal settlers through the values formation, skills training and livelihood components of the program.
Prior to the installation of the water system in the beneficiary community, Maynilad organized the residents into cooperatives and conducted the necessary training so that the members could manage the water system and payment collections. STM aguadors (delivery boys) were also tasked to distribute water in the community while other members took charge of maintaining and repairing the water system.
Maynilad also encouraged the communities to pursue livelihood projects to improve their living standards. To generate funds for their chosen project, the STM cooperatives were allowed to apply a minimal surcharge on the water rate set by the company. In some STM communities, the earnings were used to produce hand towels, soaps, dishwashing gels, fabric softeners and bags from recycled products. One community used a portion of its collection to support a day care facility.
Lydia Codinera, President of STM Tondo, is quick to attest to their community’s transformation because of Maynilad’s CSR program. “Malaki ang pakinabang nang buhay namin sa STM dahil malaki ang natitipid namin at umaangat pa ang aming pamumuhay. Dati, maraming nagkakasakit dahil sa maruming tubig at kailangan pa naming magpakulo ng tubig. Ngunit ngayon, napakalinis na nang tubig na aming naiinom galing Maynilad,” (The STM is a huge blessing for us, as we now get our water at a significantly cheaper rate. Moreover, a lot of us used to get sick due to the dirty water we use and we needed to boil the water in order to use it. Now we get safe drinking water from Maynilad) said Codinera.
Encouraged by the positive feedback and changes made by STM, Maynilad is set to establish 13 more STMs in Fairview, North Caloocan, and Malabon. The company hopes that through this program it could transform even more poor communities in the West Zone.
“STM is really about improving the lives of Filipinos through clean water. This is, after all, our vision – to provide convenient access to the 16 million Filipinos who do not have access to clean and safe water,” said Maynilad President and CEO Ricky Vargas.
Maynilad is the largest private water concessionaire in the Philippines in terms of customer base. It is a concessionaire of the MWSS for the West Zone of the Greater Manila Area, which is composed of the cities of Manila (all but portions of San Andres & Sta Ana), Quezon City (west of San Juan River, West Avenue, EDSA, Congressional, Mindanao Avenue, the northern part starting from the Districts of the Holy Spirit & Batasan Hills), Makati (west of South Super Hi-way), Caloocan, Pasay, Paranaque, Las Pinas, Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, Navotas and Malabon all in Metro Manila; Cavite City, and the towns of Bacoor, Imus, Kawit, Noveleta and Rosario, all in Cavite Province.
PHOTO: Residents from blighted communities enjoy safe, reliable, and affordable water through Maynilad’s community development program, The Samahang Tubig Maynilad (STM).