Credit to Author: Tempo Desk| Date: Tue, 13 Aug 2019 11:13:39 +0000
THE decision of the Supreme Court to penalize concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water as well as the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for their violations of Republic Act No. 9275 or the Clean Water Act is a big triumph for Mother Earth.
The violations stemmed from the failure of the parties to put up sewage lines and sewage treatment facilities which are specifically provided for in the Clean Water Act.
The penalties that the Supreme Court imposed – R921.5 million each for Maynilad and Manila Water (with the MWSS jointly and severally liable with each water concessionaire) and R322,102 daily fine until they fully comply with the subject provisions of the law, clearly illustrate the extent of the victory for Mother Earth. This is so even if the concerned parties are expected to exercise their right to file a motion for reconsideration.
The finality of the victory of Mother Earth, in this case, is expected particularly because the Supreme Court’s decision was from a vote of 12-0 (with two justices abstaining from the voting and not from a vote of 14-0 as earlier reported).
Such victory, however, is not enough. It has been reported that 20 percent of the bills paid by the customers of the two water concessionaires was specifically for sewage services. Since such services were not substantially provided, the concessionaires should be held accountable for the money paid by their customers.
This should not be a simple question of returning the collected money to the customers. The concessionaires