SC ruling on water firms a warning vs abuses – Bayan Muna
MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) affirmation of almost P2 billion in fines imposed on Metro Manila’s water concessionaires is a stern warning against future abuses, according to party-list group Bayan Muna.
“May this be a warning to those who continue to dump wastewater on our waterways as what happened to Manila Bay, which is now in dire need of rehabilitation,” Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said on Tuesday after the SC released its decision.
“We hope that this decision would pave the way for the water concessionaires to take the issue of environmental protection and sanitation seriously,” he added.
Earlier, Manila Water, Maynilad, and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) were required by SC to pay a fine of P921.4 million each for violating the Clean Water Act (Republic Act No. 9275).
This decision affirmed a Court of Appeals (CA) ruling in 2013, which upheld a Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) order.
Manila Water is in charge of the water services in the eastern part of Metro Manila and nearby provinces, while Maynilad handles the western side.
Zarate and Bayan Muna chair Neri Colmenares welcomed this development, noting that it is a strong case as SC justices voted 14-0 in favor of penalizing the three bodies.
“This is a very welcome development and a very strong decision because the SC voted 14-0. The high court also ruled that the MWSS is “jointly and severally liable” with both water concessionaires, upholding a Court of Appeals ruling on two separate cases,” Zarate explained.
INQUIRER.net sought the side of Manila Water and Maynilad to clarify the issue, but both companies separately said that they would wait for a copy of the decision before commenting.
Maynilad, however, said that they would file a motion for reconsideration before the 15-day deadline given by SC for the parties to settle the fines.
“We have yet to receive a copy of the ruling,” Manila Water spokesperson Jeric Sevilla told said on Tuesday.
“Maynilad has not yet received a copy of the Supreme Court decision but assuming the news is correct then we intend to file a motion for reconsideration within the allowed 15 days from receipt of the ruling,” Maynilad spokesperson Jen Rufo told in a separate message.
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