SC slaps almost ₱1B fine each on Maynilad, Manila Water for failing to put up sewerage system

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 6) — The Supreme Court (SC) slapped nearly ₱1-billion in fines each for water concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad, together with their regulator Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Sytem (MWSS), for their failure to put up sewerage systems in their service areas 10 years ago.

The high court announced on Tuesday the magistrates voted 14-0 to impose a penalty worth ₱921.46 million for each of the two firms for violating Republic Act 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act.

Section 8 of this law requires the regulator as well as water concessionaires to provide sewerage facilities in Metro Manila and other highly-urbanized cities, which shall be connected to existing sewage lines. This is to ensure proper disposal of waste water.

The court added that the regulator Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) is "jointly and severally liable" for the lapses. The law, which was signed in 2004, gave a five-year window for the MWSS and water companies to put up the sewerage systems and sewage treatment facilities.

The SC upheld the ruling of the Court of Appeals in 2012 siding with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The case dates back to May 7, 2009. The law charges a minimum penalty of ₱10,000 for every day of violation, and is capped at ₱200,000.

The court gave the three institutions 15 days upon receiving a copy of the decision to pay the fine. Until full payment of the amount, they will incur a penalty worth ₱322,102 a day. The law also adds 10 percent to the fine every two years, until compliance with Section 8 of the Clean Water Act.

The court added a legal interest of six percent per annum until the payment is "fully satisfied."

This is not the first time when the utility firms servicing Metro Manila found themselves in hot water. MWSS ordered Manila Water to pay a ₱1.134 billion fine over the water crisis that left customers in the east zone with no water for days. In June, the regulator likewise imposed a rebate on Maynilad worth ₱2,500 for every household that suffered supply problems in Las Piñas City.

CNN Philippines' Justice Correspondent Anjo Alimario contributed to this report.