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.
Here is the message attached to the YouTube video:
"Hello citizens of the Philippines... We are Anonymous! The website of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System was defaced due to the following reasons. MWSS regulatory office head Manuel Quizon admitted both Maynilad and Manila Water continue to charge consumers around 1.52 pesos per cubic meter for the 2 cancelled projects. Quizon explains this can be corrected through a rate rebasing which is currently being done by the MWSS where under-recovery and over-recovery can be settled through tariff rates for the next five years of both concessionaires.
Maynilad has refused to answer queries about the charges but Manila Water says all charges collected from water consumers are authorized by MWSS as the regulatory body. Consumer group Water for All Refund Movement or WARM said Maynilad and Manila Water should stop the collection of these amounts and immediately refund around 6 billion pesos which is 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 37 pesos to 48 pesos per cubic meter since the two concessionaires took over water services.
WARM has already filed syndicated estafa against top officials of both Maynilad and Manila Water but the QC prosecutors office has yet to act on it... Why should consumers pay for shelved water projects? Another reason is the excessive benefits given to members of its board. Each board member is paid 9,000 pesos per regular committee meeting and 15,000 pesos for board meeting. MWSS trustees would schedule 4 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. Anonymous is not a group. Anonymous is not an organization. Anonymous is an idea. And ideas are bulletproof.
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!"