SC imposes P2-billion fine on water firms

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and two water concessionaires to pay a hefty fine of almost P2 billion for violations of the Philippine Clean Water Act.

In an en banc decision penned by Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando, the High Court directed Maynilad and MWSS to jointly and severally pay P921,464,184 for the period of May 7, 2009 to date of promulgation.

The same amount of fine was slapped on Manila Water to be paid jointly and severally with MWSS.

SC Public Information Office chief Brian Keith Hosaka said the court, voting 14-0, denied the petitions filed by MWSS, Maynilad and Manila Water assailing the decision of the Court of Appeals, which found the three liable for the violation of Section 8 of the Philippine Clean Water Act.

Hosaka said both concessionaires are required to pay the fine within 15 days from receipt of the decision.

From receipt of the decision until fully paid, the petitioners shall be fined the initial amount of P322, 102.00 per day subject to 10 percent increase every two years as provided under the Clean Water Act.

The Court added that a six percent per annum fine shall also be applied until the payment is fully satisfied.

A Court insider revealed Maynilad and Manila Water were found to have failed to put up sewage lines and sewerage treatment facilities as mandated by law.

The CA decision, which was upheld by the SC, sustained the decision of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The DENR had ruled that MWSS and the two firms should pay P29.4 million in fines for the period starting May 7 to Sept. 30, 2009, and P200 per day thereafter for continued non-compliance with the law.

This prompted the MWSS, Maynilad and Manila Water to elevate the issue before the high court.

Topics: Supreme Court , Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System , Philippine Clean Water Act , Ramon Paul Hernando
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