Beh buti nga! Lito Atienza tells Maynilad, Manila Water to pay P2-B fine

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Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza has hailed the Supreme Court decision imposing a fine of almost P2 billion on Maynilad Water Services Inc., Manila Water Co. Inc. and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for defying the Clean Water Act.

Atienza, who issued the order fining MWSS and the private water concessionaires when he was Environment Secretary in 2009, said punishment is “the best deterrence” to violators of environmental protection laws.

“The Clean Water Act gave them five years to comply – between April 2004 to April 2009 – but still they did not. Up to now, they have not complied. They really deserve to be dealt with severely,” he said in a statement.

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ordered MWSS, Maynilad and Manila Water jointly and severally pay P921,464,184 for the period of May 7, 2009 to the date of the ruling’s promulgation for failing to put up wastewater treatment facilities.

A fine of P322,102 per day shall be imposed on Maynilad, Manila Water and MWSS from the receipt of the decision until they have fully paid the amount required by the Supreme Court.

Atienza said the Supreme Court decision is timely as government is bent on cleaning up Manila Bay.

“As we understand, some P42-billion has been allotted to clean up Manila Bay. But as we’ve been pointing out repeatedly, without the necessary wastewater treatment facilities, household wastewater will just continue to flow directly into our water bodies. This will all be just a big waste of money,” he said.