The Philippine Star

Bayan Muna urges SC to stop water rate increase


Bayan Muna chairman and former congress- man Neri Colmenares yesterday called on the Supreme Court (SC) to stop the impending water rate increase in Metro Manila.

Colmenares said the high tribunal should now decide on a case that Bayan Muna filed in August 2015 questionin­g the practice of water concession­aires of passing billions in their income tax payments to their customers. He said payment of income taxes is clearly a business expense that should be absorbed by businessme­n or investors.

“Bayan Muna filed the case three years ago, but until now, it is still gathering dust in the high court. The Supreme Court should also decide on the loan guarantee issue because consumers should not shoulder the income taxes and debts of these multibilli­on companies,” Colmenares said.

He said the government guaranteed the loans obtained by water concession­aires, and it’s the public that would pay for such debts in case of default on the part of the borrowers.

Despite making billions in profits, water distributo­rs want their customers to pay for their income taxes, he said.

He said Manila Water earned P6.5 billion last year, and Maynilad P7.4 billion. Concession­aires have petitioned for an increase of as much as P11 per cubic meter.

Colmenares said aside from the case against water concession­aires, other petitions filed by Bayan Muna are still pending in the tribunal.

He said while the SC favored the quo warranto petition of Solicitor General Jose Calida and ousted its own chief justice in two months, justices are taking years to resolve cases involving the people’s welfare.

He said the oldest of Bayan Muna’s pending complaints is a petition questionin­g the Arroyo administra­tion’s agreement with China for a joint maritime survey in the West Philippine Sea, which was filed in May 2008.

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