SC fines Maynilad, Manila Water, MWSS for PH Clean Water Act violations

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 06 2019 06:49 PM | Updated as of Aug 06 2019 07:51 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) – The Supreme Court en banc has voted 14-0 to fine water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water over P921.5 million each for violation of the Philippine Clean Water Act, Supreme Court Spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka announced Tuesday.

The high court ruling also held regulator Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) “jointly and severally liable” with both water concessionaires, upholding a Court of Appeals ruling on two separate cases. 

A “joint and several” liability means the entire obligation may be enforced on one of the parties.

The high court has yet to release a copy of the decision but according to a reliable source from the Supreme Court, both Maynilad and Manila Water failed to put up sewage lines and sewage treatment facilities.
Section 8 of the Philippine Clean Water Act (Republic Act No. 9275) requires MWSS and water concessionaires to connect existing sewage lines found in all subdivisions, condominiums, commercial centers, hotels, sports and recreational facilities, hospitals, market places, public buildings, industrial complexes and other similar establishments including households to the available sewerage system.

The case stems from a decision of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in 2009 to fine MWSS and the two concessionaires P29.4 million because of the violations.

The Court of Appeals in 2011 affirmed the DENR’s decisions.

The fines cover the period May 7, 2009, or 5 years after the effectivity of the Philippine Clean Water Act when the requirement took effect, up Tuesday, August 6, when the SC decision was promulgated.
Maynilad, Manila Water and MWSS were given 15 days from receipt of the decision to pay the fines.

On top of these, they will also be required to pay a fine of P322,102 per day until they are able to put up the sewage lines and sewage treatment facilities, subject to a 10-percent increase every 2 years.

The fines are also subject to legal interest of 6 percent. 

Both Maynilad and Manila Water said in separate statements they have yet to receive a copy of the high court decision. 

Maynilad said "...assuming the news is correct then we intend to file a motion for reconsideration within the allowed 15 days from receipt of the ruling."