The Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) and water consumer group Pagkakaisa ng mga Tagapagtangkilik ng Tubig sa Kamaynilaan (PATTAK) today blasted the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Systems (MWSS) regulators for their failure to take advantage of the 30-day period of clarification to block the immediate implementation of Maynilad’s planned water rate hike.

“After announcing that it would make use of the clarificatory period provided for under the arbitration process, the MWSS has apparently decided to drop all pretense that it is looking out for the welfare of water consumers. By simply allowing the deadline to lapse, the MWSS has paved the way for the implementation of the 9.8% increase granted to Maynilad by the International Chamber of Commerce-led arbitration panel,” Sammy Gamboa FDC Secretary-General said.

FDC said the MWSS decision to do nothing was tantamount to neglect of duty and a great disservice to already suffering consumers.

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The Freedom from Debt Coalition and the water consumers group Pagkakaisa ng mga Tagapagtangkilik ng Tubig sa Kamaynilaan (PATTAK), today slammed the recently announced ruling of an arbitration panel which grants Maynilad the right to hike its water rates for Metro Manila’s West Zone saying it sends the message that corporations can do whatever they please in the country.

When Metro Manila’s water services were privatized in 1997, the service area was divided into two geographically separate zones–the West zone which includes old Manila and the province of Cavite which was awarded to Maynilad and the East zone which includes much of the Makati business district and expanding suburbs, which was awarded to Manila Water.

“The decision legitimizes abuses committed by the water companies, such as passing on their corporate income taxes to consumers, which were a major basis for the MWSS’ decision last year to order water rate cuts and which are currently the subject of a legislative investigation. It tells other would-be investors that in the Philippines, you can rob the people blind and get rewarded for it!” Samuel Gamboa, FDC Secretary-General said.

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