Consumers paying for Maynilad, Manila Water taxes

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 26 2013 01:25 AM | Updated as of Jun 26 2013 10:39 AM

MANILA (UPDATED) - The consumer group Water for the People Network has found out that in the last 6 years, water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water have been passing on to all consumers all the taxes they incurred, including income tax.

Based on the group's computation, taxes passed on to consumers by water concessionaires from 2008 to 2012 have reached P15.5 billion.

The taxes are tucked in the tariff rate charged to all consumers.

"Ang pagpasa po ng buwis sa kita ng dapat serbisyo sa tao ay imoral na yun," said Water for People Network convenor, Rosario Bella Guzman.

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) regulatory office has admitted that the concessionaires' income taxes and other duties form part of what all consumers pay monthly.

Chief regulator Emmanuel Caparas has also confirmed Maynilad and Manila Water want to include again these taxes as pass-on charges to all consumers from 2013 to 2037.

"It's an issue that's a hot topic. We will be talking about it," he said.

The concessionaires have not issued any statement regarding the matter, allowing the regulator to clarify the matter.

According to Caparas, while the inclusion of taxes was approved by the previous MWSS administration, it is possible that these will be removed in the current rate rebasing.

MWSS is set to release its decision on this next month.

Meantime, militant groups have been sustaining their protest actions against the impending adjustment in Metro Manila's water rates.

Members of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) trooped to the Maynilad branch in Arroceros to dramatize their plea.

They also initiated a signature campaign to stop price increases in water rates.

"Nanghihikayat po kami na makilahok at makialam po kayo sa isyung ito," said Cora Agovida, spokesperson of Bayan-NCR.

The group has vowed more protest actions leading up to the President's State of the Nation Address in July. - ANC