Press Release
April 24, 2019

Hontiveros: P1-B fine vs. Manila Water proves that MWSS can hold water concessionaires accountable

"Kaya naman pala kung gugustuhin."

This was the statement issued on Wednesday by Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros after the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) imposed a P 1.13 billion fine on Manila Water for its failure to comply with its contractual obligation to deliver 24-hour water supply to customers in Metro Manila and Rizal Province.

The MWSS's decision to impose the fine was contrary to its previous statements that it has no power to hold water concessionaires accountable because the concession agreements do not authorize it to impose fines for unmet service obligations.

"This is clear proof that government regulatory agencies have ample power to compel concessionaires of public services to effectively serve the public's needs and penalize them when they fail to do so," Hontiveros said.

"This is a lesson to our regulatory bodies. I hope that in the future, they will do their job appropriately and expeditiously, stop making excuses and cease from acting only when public opinion is already stacked against them," Hontiveros added.

Hontiveros also welcomed Manila Water's commitment to comply with the MWSS's orders and pay the imposed fines.

"I call on the MWSS and Manila Water to immediately set up the mechanisms to guarantee that the fines imposed will result in actual compensation or consumer rebates to the thousands of households in the metro which were severely affected by the lack of water supply," Hontiveros said.

The Senator pointed out that Article 10, Section 10.4 of the government's concession agreement with Manila Water states that "all penalties received by the Regulatory Office pursuant to this Section 10.4 shall be rebated to Customers affected by the Concessionaire's failure to meet Service."

"I hope that the government will ensure that it is the families who had to endure the lack of water supply during this hot summer season who will benefit the most from the fines imposed on Manila Water, in compliance with basic principles of equity and justice," Hontiveros said.

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