'Why should consumers pay for shelved water projects?'

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 17 2012 03:24 PM | Updated as of Jul 18 2012 02:41 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Water consumers continue to pay through their water bills for two projects that have already been shelved.

Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) regulatory office head Manuel Quizon admitted both Maynilad and Manila Water continue to charge consumers around P1.52/cubic meter for the 2 cancelled projects.

Quizon explains this can be corrected through a rate rebasing which is currently being done by the MWSS where under-recovery and over-recovery can be settled through tariff rates for the next five years of both concessionaires.

Maynilad has refused to answer queries about the charges but Manila Water says all charges collected from water consumers are authorized by MWSS as the regulatory body.

Consumer group Water for All Refund Movement (WARM) said Maynilad and Manila Water should stop the collection of these amounts and immediately refund around P6 billion which is the estimated amount collected so far from 2008.

The group asked why consumers should pay for a future project that the concessionaires and MWSS are espousing.

According to the group, water rates have gone up to P37 to P48/cubic meter since the two concessionaires took over water services.

WARM has already filed syndicated estafa against top officials of both Maynilad and Manila Water but the QC prosecutors office has yet to act on it.