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Maynilad cites ‘good faith, real efforts’ after SC ruling

MAYNILAD Water Services, Inc. said the Supreme Court had seen the company’s good faith after the tribunal decided to cut the fines imposed on water concessionaires for non-compliance with the Clean Water Act.

“We are grateful that the Supreme Court has taken into consideration our good faith and real efforts to comply with the obligations of the Clean Water Act, as well as our legislative franchise to reduce the amount of our fine,” Maynilad Spokesperson Jennifer C. Rufo told BusinessWorld in a Viber message on Sunday.

In a regulatory filing on Friday, Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) said the Supreme Court affirmed an earlier decision that found the Metropolitan Water Works and Sewerage System (MWSS) and concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water Co. liable for violating Republic Act 9275 or the Philippine Clean Water Act.

Manila Water has yet to respond to a request for comment.

The High Court also unanimously allowed to lower the fines imposed on the two concessionaires to P202.26 million from P921.46 million.

MPIC, the parent firm of Maynilad, also disclosed to the stock exchange that the SC decision affirmed that each of the concessionaires is jointly and severally liable for violating Section 8 in relation to Section 28 of the Clean Water Act.

In 2019, the SC said that Maynilad and Manila Water are each jointly liable with the MWSS to pay P921.46 million covering the period May 7, 2009 to Aug. 6, 2019, or the promulgation date of the decision.

In 2009, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources filed a complaint against MWSS and its concessionaires, Maynilad and Manila Water, for their failure to provide, install, operate, and maintain adequate wastewater treatment facilities for the sewerage system, resulting in the degraded quality and beneficial use of the receiving bodies of water leading to Manila Bay.

Section 8 of the Clean Water Act mandates the connection of existing sewage lines in all subdivisions, condominiums, commercial centers and other establishments, including households, to an available sewerage system within five years from the law’s effectivity in 2004.

On Friday, shares in MPIC climbed by 3.14% to close at P3.61 each.

MPIC, which has a majority stake in Maynilad, is one of three Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT Inc.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has an interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Ashley Erika O. Jose

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