State auditors said that although the LLDA posted P44.64 million in income from fines and penalties in 2017, the collection could have been substantially higher had the agency refused to grant requests by erring establishments to reduce the penalties.
LLDA hit for reducing erring firms’ penalties
Elizabeth Marcelo (The Philippine Star) - July 15, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has reprimanded the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) for reducing by P56.53 million the penalties it imposed against several establishments found discharging wastewater into the Laguna Lake.

State auditors said that although the LLDA posted P44.64 million in income from fines and penalties in 2017, the collection could have been substantially higher had the agency refused to grant requests by erring establishments to reduce the penalties.

“The decrease in the amount of penalties imposed on some establishments were granted either due to the reduction of the number of days of violation or the imposition of a one-time penalty of P10,000,” the COA said in a report released recently.

It said the imposition of a one-time penalty violated Republic Act (RA) 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.

The audit body said the prescribed penalty is not less than P10,000 nor more than P200,000 for every day of violation.

“The amount increases by 10 percent every two years to compensate for inflation and maintain the deterrent function of such fines,” it said.

The one–time penalty is baseless as it was not provided in the guidelines and regulations on the implementation of the fines and penalties adopted under RA 9275.

“Of the 11 randomly selected establishments with water pollution cases, four were found to have been imposed with a one-time penalty of P10,000 each or a total of P40,000 only for 2,033 days of violation,” the COA said. 

It said that if the rates of penalties provided under RA 9275 were applied, the amount of accumulated fines of the four establishments should be P30.22 million.

State auditors said other establishments were also granted a decrease in penalties despite their failure to submit documents supporting their claims of not having discharged wastewater into the lake for a particular number of days.

The LLDA admitted the one-time fixed penalty was imposed against some establishments with pollution cases as the LLDA environmental regulatory department failed to monitor their operations for more than one year.

It said the reduction in the number of days of violation was a result of a public hearing conducted by the LLDA to resolve the cases. 

But the COA said these practices of the LLDA lacked legal basis. 

COMMISSION ON AUDIT LAGUNA LAKE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
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