Senate urged to probe water firms

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SENATOR Ralph Recto filed a resolution asking the appropriate Senate committee to conduct an inquiry to determine if the two water concessionaires—Maynilad Water and Manila Water—are passing on their multi-billion corporate income tax payments to their consumers.

Recto, in filing Senate Resolution No. 4, urged the Senate to look into the Concession Agreements (CAs) with the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) that allowed the two water concessionaires to pass on their income taxes to consumers. Recto cited the report of the consumer advocacy group Water for the People Network (WPN) which bared that Maynilad and Manila Water are passing on taxes to water consumers, which had reached P15.5 billion during the period 2008 to 2012 or P3.1 billion a year.

Recto raised the need to correct the onerous provisions in the CAs of the two water concessionaires, review and strengthen the regulatory powers of MWSS and protect the welfare of consumers.

He said that the MWSS admitted that the concessionaires’ income taxes and other duties tucked in as part of their operations expense (Opex) form part of what all consumers pay monthly.

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This was on top of the “system loss” or cost of water pilfered that is also passed on to consumers.

“When the state concession was granted to deliver a precious commodity like water, it did not include the authority to also bilk dry their clients,” Recto said in a statement.

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