Manila Water Co. Inc. has warned of a hefty 780 percent increase in water rates or as much as P26.70 per cubic meter and worse traffic in Metro Manila if the Supreme Court (SC) decision issued last August is not reversed.
Michael Varcas/File
Manila Water warns of 780% water rate hike
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - October 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Consumers should brace for a P26 increase in water rates in the long-term following the massive fines slapped on water firms due to non-compliance with environmental laws.

Manila Water Co. Inc. has warned of a hefty 780 percent increase in water rates or as much as P26.70 per cubic meter and worse traffic in Metro Manila if the Supreme Court (SC) decision issued last August is not reversed.

“If the concessionaires were to compress into five years as the SC ruling wants what was planned as a 40-year project, the hundreds of billions of pesos required would lead to an increase in the water bill of subscribers, leaving them less money for other necessities and triggering higher inflation,” Manila Water said in a statement.

“Worse traffic is also to be expected since hundreds of kilometers of roads, including EDSA, which are part of Manila Water’s east zone, would have to be dug up all at the same time. The daily loss of P3.5 billion caused by existing traffic congestion could balloon significantly,” it added.

Manila Water maintained it complied with its sewerage responsibilities under the Clean Water Act and should not be fined P921 million.

In its motion for reconsideration, Manila Water said the SC decision fining them P921 million for failing to complete their sewerage projects by 2009, or five years after the law took effect, and an additional running daily fine of P322,102 until the sewerage projects are completed, have no basis.

The SC recently upheld the P2 billion in penalties against the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water.

For one, it said the law simply required MWSS, Manila Water and Maynilad to interconnect the “existing” water lines of households, condominiums and subdivisions, among others, to the “available” sewer lines of the concessionaires.

By 2009, it said it had interconnected 61,000 out of 63,000 subscribers to its sewer trunk. The rest could not be interconnected because the “available” sewers would be compromised if overloaded.

But since then, the company had installed additional sewers and spent billions of pesos more than it had collected for the purpose.

Consumer advocacy group Citizen Watch Philippines earlier said the decision is confusing because in 2011, the SC gave MWSS and its two concessionaires up to 2037 to comply since 17 government agencies which were tasked to prepare the way for MWSS and the concessionaires have not fully complied until now.

For instance, it said that all local governments in Metro Manila must provide land and right of way for the sewerage treatment plants, issue permits and identify all households and establishments that are not compliant with the law.

By singling out the concessionaires, Citizen Watch emphasized that the SC is actually penalizing the citizens.

MANILA WATER
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with