Lawmaker slams Maynilad, Manila Water for passing on taxes to consumers
THE approved increases in water rates by concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water should be voided for being unfair to consumers, according to House Minority Leader Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna party-list.
He made the call on Tuesday in light of the rate adjustments, which the concessionaires said resulted from implementation of an increase in foreign currency differential adjustment (FCDA).
FCDA is a mechanism that allows Maynilad and Manila Water to cover foreign exchange fluctuations that also affect their payments on foreign currency-denominated loans for expansion and service improvement.
Under the increases that will take effect in January 2015, those consuming 20 cubic meters a month will have to pay an additional P4.45 and those consuming 30 cubic meters, P9.12 more.
Manila Water will be posting a price hike of 0.36 per cubic meter by January, while Maynilad will increase its price by 0.38 per cubic meter.
This means an additional P1.19 in the bill of Maynilad’s lifetime consumers, or those that consume 10 cubic meters and below per month.
The hike will add P4.45 to the bill of those that consume 20 cubic meters a month, and P9.12 for 30 cubic meters.
According to Manila Water and Maynilad, the increase comes in line with foreign currency differential adjustment, or the change of the value of the peso against other currencies.
Maynilad serves Metro Manila’s West Zone including Manila, some areas in Quezon City, Caloocan, Navotas, Malabon,Valenzuela, Pasay, Las Piñas, Paranaque and Muntinlupa and Cavite City, Bacoor, Imus, Kawit, Noveleta and Rosario in Cavite province.
Manila Water primarily serves the East Zone which covers parts of Quezon City, Makati, Taguig, Pateros, Marikina, Pasig, San Juan, Mandaluyong and Rizal province.
Colmenares said the concessionaires must first refund billions of pesos that they had collected from the public for still unimplemented water projects before they could raise water charges.
Among these projects involve Angat dam (P5.4 billion) and Laiban dam (P45.3 billion).
“These water concessionaires are raking in billions by fooling us. They borrow from foreign creditors without any qualms knowing that they are insulated from the risks ordinary borrowers take because they’re allowed to pass on their foreign exchange losses to their consumers,” Colmenares, a lawyer, pointed out.
“They want their cake and eat it too. Can you believe this? They want us to pay for their tax dues. Government has to stop this practice of making the people shoulder all the risks and losses of public utilities and awarding contracts to companies whose main interest is profit-secured business instead of public service,” he said.
Colmenares slammed Maynilad and Manila water for passing their income, value-added, documentary-stamp and other taxes to consumers.
According to the non-government Water for the People Network, such taxes charged to the consumers have amounted to P15 billion.
“This [passing on of charges to consumers]is highly questionable. This is detrimental to the interest of the government and the people and thus, must be voided. The Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System Regulatory Office should act now to end this practice and have the water concessionaires refund this to consumers,” the lawmaker said.