MWSS chief regulator to resign

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 11 2014 04:37 PM | Updated as of Jun 12 2014 12:37 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Chief Regulator Emmanuel Caparas has informed the board he will resign from the regulatory office, effective June 30.

But Caparas said he will remain as a member of the board.

He relinquished the chief regulator position after a COA opinion stated that his having dual position as regulator and member of the board is a violation of the concession agreement between Manila Water, Maynilad Water and MWSS.

Caparas said the new chief regulator who will assume office on July 1 has also been with government service before.

He also clarified his departure from the regulatory office has nothing to do with the ongoing arbitration on the decision to reduce, instead of increase, water rates.

Caparas said the arbitration is currently still in the midst of discussions for both Maynilad and Manila Water panels.

Despite a provision in the concession agreement that states that arbitration proceedings must be finished in 90 days, both panels are not likely to reach a decision soon.

Caparas is hopeful a resolution will come by year end.

The decision of the regulatory office came out September 2013. Ten months later, no final ruling has been issued yet.

The MWSS has ordered Manila Water to reduce water rates by P7.24/cubic meter over a 5-year period or P 1.45/cubic meter a year.

Maynilad, on the hand, was ordered to slash water rates by P1.40 over 5 years or P0.29/cubic meter a year.

Both concessionaires sought a rate hike during the rate rebasing period: Maynilad - P8.58/cubic meter and Manila Water- P5.83/cubic meter.