Hackers deface MWSS site over high water rates
Hackers claiming to be a Philippine chapter of the hacktivist collective Anonymous defaced the website of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) over the weekend, supposedly over unjustified high charges by the agency's concessionaires.
The MWSS site (www.mwss.gov.ph) has been hacked many times in the past, but this is the first time that the perpetrators left a detailed political manifesto explaining their actions.
Visitors to the website were greeted with a logo of the international Anonymous collective, but with the word "Philippines" on the logo's upper part, along with a link that offers an explanation for the attack.
An unlisted YouTube video was embedded in the defaced page, explaining for slightly over three minutes the motive for the attack.
Its end credits included groups whose names suggested Anonymous chapters in Butuan City and in Manila.
"We are anonymous, we are legion, we do not forgive, we do not forget, United as one, divided by none, the corrupt fear us, the honest support us, the heroic joins us, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, it's too late to expect us!" the hackers said.
The hackers said MWSS regulatory office head Manuel Quizon had admitted that its concessionaires, Maynilad and Manila Water, continue to charge consumers around P1.52 per cubic meter for two cancelled projects.
They said that while Maynilad refused to answer queries about the charges, Manila Water said all charges collected from water consumers are authorized by MWSS.
However, the websites of Maynilad and Manila Water appeared normal as of 5 p.m. Saturday.
According to the hackers, the consumer group Water for All Refund Movement (WARM) had called for a stop to the collections and refund customers about P6 billion, the estimated amount collected so far from 2008.
"The group asked why consumers should pay for a future project that the concessionaires and MWSS are espousing. According to the group, water rates have gone up to P37 to P48 per cubic meter since the two concessionaires took over water services," they said.
They added WARM has already filed syndicated estafa against top officials of Maynilad and Manila Water but the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office has yet to act on it.
"Why should consumers pay for shelved water projects?" they said.
The hackers also cited as another reason for the attack the supposedly excessive benefits given to members of the MWSS board.
Each board member is paid P9,000 per regular committee meeting and P15,000 for board meeting, they claimed.
Also, they said MWSS trustees would schedule four committee meetings in a day, which would total earnings of P36,000 a day.
"We are fighting for the truth and free speech. People should not fear the government. The government should fear their people," they said. — TJD, GMA News
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