QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) is likely to postpone the impending water rate hike due to the arbitration case filed by Maynilad against the agency.
Last week, the MWSS received a dispute notice questioning the regulatory board’s decision to exclude the corporate income tax from the approved water rate hike.
According to the MWSS’s chief regulator Patrick Ty, this is not possible.
“Hindi po pwede i-pass on ang income tax sa publiko dahil ito po ay hindi kasama sa business tax. Ayon sa concession agreement, only business tax is recoverable so hindi kasama ang income tax sa business tax,” he explained.
The pending arbitration case, according to MWSS, is the reason why the water regulatory board is contemplating on a suspension of the water rate hike supposedly set next week.
The agency said they will do their best to defer a potential increase in water rate charges.
As of this writing, it is only Maynilad that has filed an arbitration case.
The MWSS warned that they will also suspend the implementation of water rate hike by Manila Water if the latter will file a similar arbitration case.
Meanwhile, consumers need not worry because the MWSS assured to order the two water concessionaires to return the excess in collection once the water rate hike takes effect.
Based on the approved request, Maynilad will collect an additional P5.73/cubic meter while Manila Water will collect an additional P6.22/cubic meter starting next week.
The MWSS divided the amount into four tranches to be collected over the next four years.
For its part, Maynilad said filing the arbitration case is just appropriate.
“If we do not file a dispute notice, Maynilad would be construed to have waived its claim on the recoverability of CIT—a right that was affirmed with finality in our first arbitration with the MWSS,” said Jennifer Casipit-Rufo, MWSS’ Head for Corporate Communications. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mon Jocson)