By Madelaine B. Miraflor
Water concessionaires Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (Maynilad) and Manila Water Company, Inc. (MWC) are both exploring legal options to appeal the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) requiring them to pay the Philippine government nearly P2 billion for “violating” the Philippine Clean Water Act.
On Tuesday, the high court ordered the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to pay P1.84 billion for violating Section 8 of the Philippine Clean Water Act enacted in 2004 under Republic Act No. 9275.
Under the law, MWSS and its concessionaires are required to connect the existing sewage line found in all subdivisions, condominiums, commercial centers, hotels, sports and recreational facilities, hospitals, market places, public buildings, industrial complex and other similar establishments including households to available sewerage system within the first five years of the law’s implementation. Maynilad and Manila Water are the concessionaires of MWSS.
When sought for comment, Manila Water and Maynilad said they haven’t received the SC decision, but both companies are now planning to make an appeal.
“On the new penalty to be imposed by the Supreme Court, Manila Water has not received an official copy of the Supreme Court decision to-date. We are prepared to exercise all our legal options, including filing for a Motion for Reconsideration, within the prescribed time mandated by the law on receipt of the said order,” Manila Water said.
Maynilad, too, said it has not yet received a copy of the SC 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,” the company said.
In the unanimous full court decision written by Associate Justice Ramon Paul L. Hernando, the SC ordered the two water firms and the MWSS to pay a fine of P322,102 for every day of non-compliance with the law.
“Maynilad shall be jointly and severally liable with the MWSS for a total amount of P921.46 million covering the period May 7, 2009 to date of promulgation (Aug. 6, 2019),” the SC decision reads. In the same manner, Manila Water shall also be jointly and severally liable with MWSS for the same amount and period.
Maynilad, Manila Water, and MWSS are required to pay the fine within 15 days from receipt of the decision.
MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco also said the agency has yet to receive the SC decision.
When asked if the agency is also planning to make an appeal, Velasco has not yet issued a response.