• Writ of Kalikasan against MWSS sought at Court of Appeals

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    A consumer group on Friday filed a petition for Writ of Kalikasan before the Court of Appeals in connection with alleged failure of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewarage System (MWSS) and its concessionaires, to implement an adequate sewerage and sanitation system.

    In its petition, Water for All Refund Movement Incorporated lead by its President, Rodolfo Javellana Jr., asked the court to issue a Writ of Kalikasan within three days from the date of the filing of the petition and to grant their application for a Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO).

    Named respondents in the petition are MWSS, Maynilad Water Systems Inc. and Manila Water Company.

    According to the petition, MWSS is using a “combined drainage sewerage system, operated without the necessary permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and/or the Department of Health.”

    “With a combined drainage sewerage system, rainwater and raw sewage are collected in a single pipe system. In these systems, when there is more rainwater than the system can handle, a mixture of raw sewage and rainwater goes directly from the sewer system to a body of water without having first been treated,” the petition stated.

    The group believes that the said system is the same as dumping highly toxic raw sewage into a natural body of water which is prohibited by law.

    The petitioners insisted that the combined drainage sewerage system violates Philippine environmental laws, namely, the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System; Water Code of the Philippines, Sanitation Code and Clean Water Act of 2004.

    Particularly, they want to court to direct the respondents to do the following:

    – stop developing, implementing and/or using the combined drainage sewerage system currently in use;

    – stop all collection of environmental and/or sanitation charges from consumers;

    – submit all plans for any sewerage systems to the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System;

    – render complete accounting for the environmental fees and sanitation fees in the water bills, that were passed on to consumers pursuant to the Concession Agreements;

    – commence environmental remediation and/or rehabilitation measures to remedy the aggravation if water-borne diseases caused by the lack of, or misdelivery of sewage though inadequate and unsafe sewerage and sanitation systems;

    – rehabilitate the areas affected by the installation, operation and development of a combined drainage sewerage system; and

    – develop a sewer system that is in keeping with best practices and which does not combine wastewater and rainwater for the Greater Manila Area.

    Jomar Canlas

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