A consumer rights group on Friday urged the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System to conduct “genuine” consultation and uphold greater transparency in presenting the data used to justify the proposed water rate increase of its two water concessionaires.
Lolita Donato, Samahan at Ugnayan ng mga Konsyumer para sa Ikauunlad ng Bayan convenor and Alert Mamimili spokesperson, expressed disappointment over the recent public consultation of the fourth rate rebasing of Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Co. Inc.
“As an ordinary citizen, I expected a real public consultation. Instead, they merely fed us with information that was insufficient,” she lamented.
The West zone Maynilad wanted an P11 per cubic meter increase, while east zone Manila Water had asked for an P8.30 per cubic meter adjustment.
Donato complained that during the consultation, the two water firms lacked the data of their earnings, expenditures, future expenses and rates of return.
She slammed the MWSS and the water companies for their concession agreement allowing the latter to pass on to consumers through water bills their corporate income tax and company incentives, such as vacations and sports activities, saying “this is grossly unfair to consumers.”
“What I pay for incentives and taxes I take out from my income. I don’t charge that from my clients,” said Donato, who is in the catering business.
“Charging clients for future projects will also bloat the tariffs and be burdensome to consumers,” she said.
“Their lack of transparency could leave us consumers vulnerable to high rates,” she added.
SUKI challenged the MWSS-Regulatory Office to ensure a more transparent process in a bid to safeguard the interest of its stakeholders to uphold its mission to provide quality and affordable water and sewerage services to the public.