Group asks SC to stop water rate hike by Maynilad, Manila Water
MANILA, Philippines—An advocacy group on Tuesday asked the Supreme court to stop the impending water rate increase by the Manila Water Company Inc. (MWCI) and Maynilad Water Systems, Inc. (MWSI).
In their petition for certiorari and prohibition, WaterWatch Coalition Inc. and Alyansa ng Mamamayang Naghihirap (Almana) said instead of a rate hike, there should be a refund.
“Bakit pa kelangan taasan ang singil gayung nag-advance collection para sa Wawa Dam, Putatan projects na hindi naman natuloy,” Rodolfo Javellana, President of the Water for All Refund Movement (WARM) and one of the petitioners, said.
He explained that for the Laiban Dam project, the collection that was started in 2008 amounted to almost P1 billion per year, while P170-million have been collected since 2004 for the Wawa Dam project but the projects did not materialize.
He added that there were public consultations but the water concessionaires failed to justify the basis for an increase.
In their petition, the high court was asked to declare the water companies as public utilities subject to the rules and regulations of public service laws and the auditing powers of the Commission on Audit.
Petitioners said with the approval of the 2013 Tariff Schedule, their rights have been trampled upon when MWCI and MWSI “are allowed to charge the general public for future projects that have not passed scrutiny for having been prudently incurred, without any legal basis.”
“The petitioner’s rights to affordable potable water are trampled when respondents MWCI and MWSI are allowed to charge the general public water rates well above the 12 percent profit cap imposed by law,” they added.