Bayan Muna wants DCWD’s 30% water rate hike nullified, warns of new increase

Jun. 27, 2007

DAVAO CITY — Bayan Muna urged today the National Water Regulatory Board (NWRB) to declare null and void the 30% water rate increase implemented by the Davao City water District (DCWD) last 2005.

This, as Branch 13 of the Regional Trial Court dismissed yesterday (June 27) the Declaratory Relief filed by Bayan Muna and other peoples organization against DCWDs imposition of 30% water rate increase which effected last September 2, 2005. The case was dismissed on ground that the court has no jurisdiction over the issue.

The implementation of the 30% water rate increase was unjustifiable given the dire economic situation of the people who are mostly incapable of supporting their familys daily and basic consumptions, said Jeppie Ramada, Bayan Muna’s Southern Mindanao regional coordinator.

Ramada refuted DCWDs contention that the increase was due saying DCWDs hundred million peso net saving a year is enough to finance the improvement of the companys services. The 30% increase in the water rate has only worsened the grueling effects of the unabated oil price hike and the EVAT in the day-to-day expenses of the people.

Not only that the increase was unjustifiable, the process in which it was approved was illegal and should therefore be declared null and void, Ramada reiterated.

Ramada emphasized the nullity of the imposition of Resolution No.151 or the Water Rate Hike as it was approved by the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) whose function under Presidential Decree No. 198 is merely to review the rates of water districts and not to decide on fixing the water rates.

Bayan Muna also warned of a new water rate increase that could take effect along with the approval of the 100 million peso loan as proposed by the Davao City Water District.

Under Board Resolution No. 07-090, DCWD intends to apply for a PhP 100 million loan to LWUA and other financial institutions in line with the implementation of the Comprehensive Mainline Replacement Program (CMRP).

Ramada sees the proposal as a pre-text to the privatization of the Davao City Water District saying such is a common move observed in government owned corporations where GOCC equipment and services are enhanced to meet the standards set by foreign corporations.

The water consumers are always in the losing end whenever an increase is made to support the undue resolutions of the DCWD. More so now that the proposed loan will inevitably lead to a private ownership of the DCWD and unregulated increases of the water rate are sure aftermaths, Ramada warned.

Bayan Muna is set to coordinate with the Barangay Councils of Davao City to consolidate the petition earlier filed by the Consumer Alert! to the MWRCB against the proposed P100 million loan and the privatization of the Davao City Water District.

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