NWRB slaps Pepsi Cola with P11.8-million fine for illegal deep wells

THE National Water Resources Board (NWRB), an attached agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), has fined Pepsi Cola  Products Philippines Inc. (PCPPI), the maker of Pepsi Cola, P11.8 million for illegally operating six deep wells in its plant in Muntinlupa City.

On June 11 operatives of the NWRB, with support from Task Force DENR Enforcers Metro Manila and the Philippine National Police, swooped down on the company’s premises and discovered the deep wells, all found to be without necessary permits.

Lawyer Archie Asuncion, head of the NWRB’s Litigation and Adjudication Unit, said the penalty imposed on PCPPI was set at P1,000 per day per source (deep well), starting from January 10, 2013, up to June 11, 2018.

The raid in the soft-drinks plant in Muntinlupa aimed to enforce Supreme Court decision GR 22166, entitled Pepsi Cola Products Philippines, Inc. v. National Water Resources Board, which has become final and executory on April 17, 2017.

The raid and the sealing of PCPPI’s deep wells were done on orders of Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, through Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny Antiporda.

The NWRB, the agency that monitors and regulates the use of all water resources, said the sealing of illegal deep wells is done to lessen the depletion of groundwater resources in the country.

The raiding team has disconnected the riser and submersible pumps of the deep wells from the power supply and computer box of the Pepsi facility, Antiporda said.

Citing a 2004 study commissioned by the NWRB, Antiporda said the groundwater in the area was already “critical,” and its extraction has been causing land subsidence.

As such, the NWRB has decided to stop the issuance of permits for groundwater extraction, particularly in coastal areas to prevent saltwater intrusion and land subsidence.


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