SC issues no TRO on water rate hike
MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court did not act on the request of consumer groups to stop the impending water rate increase beginning next month.
Instead, the high court ordered respondents Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and Manila Water Company Inc. (MWCI) to comment on the petition within 10 days.
“No action was taken on the request for TRO (temporary restraining order),” information chief Theodore Te said at a press conference.
Petitioners , WaterWatch Coalition Inc. and Alyansa ng Mamamayang Naghihirap (Almana), said their rights to affordable potable water have been violated by respondents MWCI and MWSI.
They said instead of a rate hike, there should be a refund.
Rodolfo Javellana, President of the Water for All Refund Movement (WARM) and one of the petitioners, said consumers have been charged for future projects that never materialized.
For example, he said 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 nothing happened.
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.