LKI 2020-044 PRESS STATEMENT
July 21, 2020
LABAN KONSYUMER CALLS FOR MWSS TO REDUCE WATER RATES DUE TO LOWER INFLATION RETROACTIVE JANUARY 2020
( Relatedly, the consumer group reminds the MWSS of its plea last year to engage in a public forum the alledgedly modified Water Concession Agreements sans the “ onerous provisions “ of the existing contracts, all to instill transparency as well as reasonable water rates ).
Consumer Group Laban Konsyumer Inc. (LKI) wrote a letter to Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewage System Regulatory Office Chief Regulator Atty. Patrick Lester N. Ty saying “last year we had a disagreement on the inflation factor. In short, Laban Konsyumer Inc. accepted the Consumer Price Index versus the Core Inflation and the 5.7% inflation for the 2019 charging year. That resulted to an increase water rates for Manila Water of PHP0.64 per cu m and PHP 1.48 per cu m for Maynilad, retroactive to January 2019.”
LKI President Atty. Vic Dimagiba wrote “Moving forward, and using the Consumer Price Index published by the Philippine Statistic Authority, the percentage change in inflation from July 2018 to July 2019 and for the 2020 Charging Year is measured at 2.32%.”
The consumer group asked “may we be informed of any action taken by the Regulatory Office as well as the MWSS Board towards a substantial rollback of water rates retroactive to January 2020. Just by using simple mathematics, the rollback should be not less than PHP0.64 and PHP1.48 per cu m for Manila Water and Maynilad, respectively, and should be retroactive to January 2020.”
Dimagiba added “As per Republic Act No. 9485 as amended by Republic Act 11032, or the Anti-Red Tape Act and the Ease of Doing Business, may we receive your reply online within three days from receipt of this letter.”
LKI stated that MWSS Regulatory Office (RO) acknowledged receipt of the email and letter and have forwarded the email to the concerned department for their appropriate action. The consumer group will await the response and feedback from the regulator on the issue as they believe that this is an important topic to tackle and resolve as soon as possible, especially that many Filipinos are still suffering the effects of the pandemic and the quarantine status of the country. LKI wishes to protect consumer welfare from overly high water prices and rates, and feels that this is a topic the regulator can alleivate accordingly and speedily.
Dimagiba said “the most recent rate adjustment limit due to the 2019 CPI of 5.7 percent was an increase of PHP0.64 pcm for Manila Water and PHP1.48 for pcm for Maynilad. This should be written off and a rollback further should be applied and implemented right away for the consumer welfare. From 5.7 percent the prior year, MWSS should have a rollback of water rates in 2020, beginning that year. Percent change from July 2019 to July 2020 is 2.39 percent. Looking at the data showing the CPI from July 2018 which is 117.4, then monthly all the way to July 2019, you can assess from the percentage change with 2020 as charging year should mean that consumers and customers enjoy lower rates.”
Relatedly, the consumer group reminds the MWSS of its plea last year to engage in a public forum the alledgedly modified Water Concession Agreements sans the “ onerous provisions “ of the existing contracts, all to instill transparency as well as reasonable water rates.