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CA upholds pro-Maynilad ruling

The Court of Appeals upheld the ruling of a lower court giving the final award to Maynilad Water Services Inc. over a tariff dispute with Metropolitan Waterworks and Services Inc.

Metro Pacific Investments Corp., the parent of Maynilad, said in a disclosure to the stock exchange the second division of the CA affirmed the decisions of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court on August 30, 2017 and November 23, 2017 favoring the water utility unit.

The appellate court also denied MWSS’s petition for review for lack of merit.

Metro Pacific said the final award upheld Maynilad’s entitlement to the inclusion of the corporate income tax in the tariff increase, and the 13.41 percent rebasing adjustment that Maynilad proposed for the fourth rate rebasing period from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2017. 

MWSS may still appeal to the Supreme Court the CA decision affirming the RTC recision and order but Metro Pacific said the move appeal should not block the immediate implementation of the final award. 

“This decision reinvigorates investor confidence in the public-private partnership program of the government and strengthens confidence in the mechanisms for enforcement of arbitral awards. This also ensures the continued implementation of Maynilad’s capital expenditure projects that are intended to benefit further our customers,” Maynilad president Ramoncito Fernandez said.

Maynilad earlier said the final award would translate into an average increase of P3.41 per cubic meter on the 2017 average basic charge of P34.51 per cubic meter.

For households with a monthly water consumption of 10 cubic meters or less, the decision would translate into an increase of P11.56 in their monthly bill from P118.61 to P130.18.

The Philippine government also has a pending appeal over a decision to award Maynilad P3.4 billion as payment for alleged losses following the rate dispute.

An arbitration panel in Singapore in July last year ruled that the government should pay Maynilad over losses incurred by the company due to the refusal of MWSS to implement the rate adjustments.

Maynilad is the water concessionaire for the west zone of Metro Manila, which is composed of the cities of Manila (certain portions), Quezon City (certain portions), Makati (west of South Super Highway), Caloocan, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, Navotas and Malabon all in Metro Manila; the cities of Cavite, Bacoor and Imus, and the towns of Kawit, Noveleta and Rosario, all in Cavite province.

Maynilad earlier said it was earmarking over P9 billion in capital expenditures this year for water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

“Our record investments have contributed significantly to the government’s job generation efforts while also improving water services for our over 9 million customers. We will continue on this track so we can sustain service level improvements in the West Zone,” Fernandez said.

Topics: Court of Appeals , Maynilad Water Services Inc. , tariff dispute , Metropolitan Waterworks and Services Inc. , Metro Pacific Investments Corp.
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