Water rates and airfares could go up again soon, if the government grants the requests that water concessionaires and airline companies made Wednesday.
Both Maynilad and Manila Water appealed to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System during a public consultation to increase their rates by P12 per cubic meter and P8.30 per cubic meter, respectively, hoping these would take effect this August.
Meanwhile in the House of Representatives, Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel cautioned the Civil Aeronautics Board against hastily authorizing commercial airlines to impose fuel surcharges on passengers.
Even without these looming inflationary issues, another lawmaker assailed the government’s intensified price monitoring drive in public markets and groceries, supposedly to arrest profiteering.
Gabriela Party-list Rep. Emmi de Jesus said it was only a “PR” (public relations) stunt to cover up the Duterte administration’s refusal to grant a significant wage increase and to junk the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN Law.
On the water rate hike, Lopez-owned Manila Water and Maynilad Water Services Inc. both called for a rate rebasing scheme, a five-year mandatory measure that allows the concessionaires to recoup frontloaded costs, investments, and even losses they incurred in the last five years.
The MWSS clarified that the petitions were not yet approved ahead of other public hearings nationwide, and assured the public of coming up with a list of what should be included in the computation for rate increases.
Manila Water and Maynilad submitted their business plans in 2017 hoping to implement the adjustment in January 2018, and sought an August implementation to start the consolidation of their fiscal updates and reports.
Once approved, the rate rebasing adjustment will be imposed on top of the recently approved third-quarter Foreign Currency Differential Adjustment of 6.20 percent of the basic charge, equivalent to P1.58 per cubic meter.
The new FCDA, which will be collected starting July 1, is P0.99 or 3.89 percent higher than the second-quarter 2018 FCDA of 2.31 percent on the basic charge or P0.59 per cubic meter.
Manila Water, in a statement, said it considered its company income tax and other expenses like sports activities in requesting the agency for its P12 hike.
In the same consultation, however, Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes opposed both water firms’ pleas, noting Manila Water made P6.5 billion in net income despite a corporate income tax of P72 billion, and Maynilad had posted P7.4-billion net income of its own.