Manila Water to recoup P8B from spat with gov’t

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    After more than four years of arguing with the government over its right to recover corporate income tax, water concessionaire Manila Water Co. Inc. can now collect almost P8 billion following the recent decision of an arbitration body.

    The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in Singapore has sided with Manila Water against the Philippine government for the former’s right to indemnification for actual losses due to the Republic’s breach of its obligation.

    In a disclosure submitted by the company in the Philippine Stock Exchange last Friday, the arbitration tribunal ordered the Philippine government to pay Manila Water the amount of P7.39 billion, representing the actual losses it suffered from June 1, 2015 until Nov. 22, 2019 and to pay 100 percent of the amounts paid by Manila Water to the PCA and 85 percent of other claimed costs.

    Manila Water did not provide further details but said it will orderly settle with the government the implementation of the ruling.

    Manila Water took the issue to the PCA in 2015 when the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) denied the concessionaire’s planned rate hike.

    The MWSS also stopped the company from recovering corporate income tax, citing that it is not supposed to be recoverable since Manila Water is a public utility. This caused a P2.77 per cubic meter drop in the concessionaire’s water rates.

    In 2017, the PCA also ordered the national government to pay the other water concessionaire, Maynilad Water Services Inc. for losses worth P3.4 billion from March 2015 to August 2016 and losses from September 2016 onwards for a similar recovery dispute.
    Government is yet to remit the amount to Maynilad.

    The Supreme Court last August imposed fines on MWSS, Maynilad and Manila Water for their non-compliance to the provisions of the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004.

    The decision enjoined the MWSS and Maynilad to pay P921,464,184 in fines for violating the law when they failed to put up sewage lines and sewage treatment facilities.

    Likewise, a similar amount was also charged on MWSS and Manila Water for the similar charge.

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