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Refund for water consumers pushed

MANILA, Philippines – A party-list congressman has asked the government to act swiftly in pushing the refund for water consumers allegedly overbilled by the two private concessionaires of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).

Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy dared Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to prosecute past and incumbent MWSS officials for conflict of interest arising from “interlocking directors and executive officers” among the concessionaires, the MWSS-Regulator Office (RO), and the MWSS.

She said the Department of Justice (DoJ) should also look into the anomalous conversion into equity in Maynilad Water Services Inc., one of the two concessionaires, of its P8.5-billion debt to the State water firm.

Herrera Dy said water consumers in the MWSS service area have paid for anomalously high water rates in the past 11 years when water distribution services were privatized by government.

She revealed that during the congressional inquiry into reported anomalies in the implementation of the concession agreement between the government with Manila Water Co. and Maynilad, it was discovered that the two private water firms imposed water rate hikes that are beyond the average tariff they are entitled to.

“These horrendous increases require immediate rollback of water rates to more reasonable and equitable rates. Consumers should be reimbursed payments for excessive water billings,” she said. (Ben R. Rosario)