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SC affirms P1.8-B fines on Maynilad, Manila Water, MWSS

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By Benjie Pulta

The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday, August 6, turned down petitions filed by water concessionaires Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Co. Inc. in connection with fines of more than PHP1.8 billion imposed by the government for non-compliance with the Clean Water Act.

In a message to newsmen, SC spokesman lawyer Brian Keith Hosaka said the court en banc voted unanimously (14-0) and directed the Maynilad and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to pay PHP900 million, and Manila Water and MWSS another PHP900 million for non-compliance with the Republic Act 9275, otherwise known as the Clean Water Act.

The two firms and MWSS were ordered fined an additional PHP322,000 per day for non-compliance with the law.

“I would like to confirm that the Supreme Court, through a decision penned by J. Ramon Paul L. Hernando and with a vote of 14-0, denied the Petitions filed by the Petitioners and affirmed the Decisions of the Court of Appeals,” Hosaka said.

The ruling resolved the consolidated cases of Maynilad Water Services Inc. vs. The Secretary of DENR, et al. GR No. 202897, Manila Water Co. Inc. vs. The Sec. of DENR et al, GR No. 206823, and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System vs. The Pollution Adjudication Board, et al, GR No. 207969,

Hosaka said the “petitioners are found liable for violation of Sec. 8 of the Philippine Clean Water Act as follows:

1. Maynilad shall be jointly and severally liable with the MWSS for a total amount of PHP921,464,184 covering the period 05/07/09 to date of promulgation.

2. Manila Water Co. Inc. shall be jointly and severally liable with MWSS for the same amount and period.

3. Shall pay the fine within 15 days from receipt of the decision.

4. From receipt of the decision until petitioners have fully paid the amount stated in 1 & 2, petitioners shall be fined the initial amount of PHP322,102/day subject to further 10 percent increase every two years as provided under Sec. 28 of the Philippine Clean Water Act, until full compliance with Sec. 8 of the same law.

5. Legal interest of 6 percent per annum until fully satisfied,”

The Department of Natural Resources in 2009 imposed on MWSS and the two water concessionaires a PHP29.4 million fine for the period May 7 to Sept. 30, 2009 per day for failure to fulfill obligations under RA 9275 which among other things required the two concessionaires to provide wastewater treatment facilities and to connect sewage lines in all establishments to an available sewerage system. (First published by PNA, Aug. 6, 2019)

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