Manila Water says it complied with Clean Water Act

More from author

Group blames DENR, mining firm for death of corals in Alcoy, Cebu

The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) is blaming...

CSU donates 622 hectares of agricultural lands to DAR for distribution to farmers

The Cagayan State University (CSU) has donated 622 hectares of agricultural lands for distribution to landless farmers...

Govt seeks P152-B fund for environment projects

The Duterte administration is seeking a budget of P152.35 billion to implement its convergence program on climate...

MANILA Water on Wednesday insisted that it has complied with its responsibilities under the Clean Water Act and should not be fined a total of P921 million.

Manila Water filed a motion for reconsideration last week. The water concessionaire for the East Zone said there is no basis for the Supreme Court’s 2019 decision, slapping the company with the huge penalty for failing to complete its sewerage projects by 2009—or five years after the Clean Water Act took effect—and an additional running daily fine of P322,102 until the sewerage project is completed.

It warned that should it be compelled to pay the fine and complete the sewerage projects, water rates could go up by 780 percent or by as much as P26.70 per cubic meter.

Worse, traffic in Metro Manila will go from bad to worse if the SC ruling issued in August is not reversed, because it will have to dig up so many streets simultaneously just to connect the sewer lines.

According to Manila Water, Section 8 of the Clean Water Act simply required the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), and private concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad to interconnect the “existing” water lines of households, condominiums, subdivisions, among others, to the “available” sewer lines of the concessionaires.

By 2009, Manila Water 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, it explained. But since then, the company has installed additional sewers and spent billions of pesos more than it had collected for the purpose.

Section 8, it said, did not envision the completion of the whole project, only the interconnection.

The law, it added, also penalizes only the polluters, or their positive acts of commission. An act of omission such as a failure to interconnect is not punishable.

If the concessionaires, Manila Water claimed, were to compress into five years— 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.

Traffic is also expected to worsen in major thoroughfares, including Edsa, which is part of the Manila Water’s East Zone, because of the required work that includes digging all at the same time. The daily loss of P3.5 billion caused by existing traffic congestion could balloon significantly, it said.

To recall, the SC en banc in August voted 14-0 to fine Maynilad and Manila Water P921 million each for their failure to put sewage lines in violation of the Clean Water Act.

The order also held MWSS equally liable for both fines slapped against its two private water contractors and agents.

In issuing its ruling, the SC upheld a 2011 decision by the Court of Appeals which found the MWSS, Manila Water and Maynilad in violation of the Clean Water Act.  The CA, however, merely imposed P29.4 million in fine covering the year 2009 only.

The case stemmed from a Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) directive in 2009 which slapped Manila Water and Maynilad with the fines for their failure to put up sufficient sewerage treatment facilities within their respective areas.

The DENR is currently in the middle of an ambitious program to rehabilitate the Manila Bay, which is the subject of a decade-old SC continuing mandamus, ordering 13 national government agencies to restore the historic bay water to its pristine state. 

- Advertisement -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More updates

In UNGA address, Duterte pitches global effort on Covid vaccine, raises SCS, human-rights issues

President Duterte called for a coordinated international effort at the 75th United Nations General Assembly against global threats, including the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as "flash points" which could lead to a world war.
- Advertisement -

READ | President Duterte’s Statement at the UN General Assembly in New York

 (Note: For the first time since being elected in 2016, President Duterte participated in the UN General Assembly's annual meeting, held virtually from the UN's General Assembly Hall in New York. Here is the full text of the President's pre-recorded Statement delivered at the General Debate of the 75TH Session of the UNGA...

Sagada, other North Luzon destinations eye reopening to tourists

MORE destinations in Northern Luzon are considering reopening to tourism, following in the footsteps of Baguio City, which will be accepting tourists from the Ilocos region by October 1. Benguet and Ifugao are also looking forward to tourists, after meeting with the governors of both provinces on Monday,...

Rice importers charged P1.4 billion on undervaluation

OVER 40 rice importers have been told to pay a combined total of P1.4 billion “additional audited assessment” after the Bureau of Customs (BOC) found them liable for undervaluing their rice shipments from March to June last year. Sixty entities with the “most number of incidents of deviation and...

DOH hails ‘calamity’ status extension as Covid cases rise

THE Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday welcomed the extension of the declaration of a state of calamity in the country as a means for sustaining the response to Covid-19, as confirmed cases surged to 291,789. Of the confirmed cases, 56,097 (19.2 percent) are active cases, 230,643 (79.0 percent)...
- Advertisement -

In case you missed it