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‘Water corporations handed on taxes to customers’

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PARTYLIST group Bayan Muna yesterday requested the Supreme Court docket (SC) to partially rethink its resolution that barred water customers from demanding a refund for the revenue tax collected from them regardless of its ruling that non-public concessionaires are public utilities and, thus, can not recuperate their company revenue taxes as working bills from customers.  

In its partial movement for reconsideration, Bayan Muna, by means of its counsel Maria Cristina P. Yambot, additionally requested the Court docket to direct the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to account all company revenue taxes of Maynilad Water Providers Inc. and Manila Water Firm Inc. it allowed to be included in relevant water charges from 2022 to 2012. 

The petitioner insisted that the water utilities needs to be compelled to refund the “illegally” handed on company revenue taxes to their respective water customers. 

Bayan Muna’s partial MR stemmed from the ruling issued by the Court docket en banc dated December 7, 2021, however was made public solely final Might 5, 2023.  

Within the mentioned resolution, the Excessive Tribunal declared that water concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad as public utilities, thus, can not recuperate their company revenue taxes as working bills from customers.

Nevertheless, the SC denied the plea of Bayan Muna for refund, noting that the best to refund had already lengthy prescribed because of the failure of any social gathering to contest the water charges earlier than the Nationwide Water Assets Board (NWRB) throughout the prescribed interval of 30 days after the effectivity of such charges.   

The 102-page resolution was penned by Senior Affiliate Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, which resolved consolidated petitions (GR 181764, 187380, 07444, 208207, 210147, 213227, 219362, 239938) involving Manila Water and Maynilad.

In GR 181764 and 187380, the SC denied the petition for assessment filed by Maynilad claiming it’s not a public utility whose charges could also be questioned by the NWRB.

In GR 207444, 208207, 210147, 213227 and 219362, the SC upheld the respective Concession Agreements entered into by MWSS with Manila Water and Maynilad, together with the Agreements’ arbitration clause.

In GR 239938, the Court docket granted the petition for assessment filed by MWSS looking for to put aside the Court docket of Appeals’ ruling which had affirmed and confirmed the arbitral in favor of Maynilad. 

“We’re glad that the Supreme Court docket has now lastly resolved the talk that has been happening for many years whether or not Maynilad and Manila Water are public utilities” former Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate mentioned. 

“We’re merely transferring for partial reconsideration of the Court docket’s resolution prohibiting the customers from demanding a refund for our cost of their revenue tax for a few years,” Zarate added. 

The petitioner mentioned since Maynila and Manila Water at the moment are thought of public utilities, they’re restricted to a 12-percent restrict on its returns of funding and prohibited from imposing on the general public their company revenue tax.  

“We hope that the Supreme Court docket will full the momentous landmark resolution by giving reduction to thousands and thousands of customers who’re affected by excessive hardships as a result of inflation, low wages and unemployment. We have been beforehand compelled to pay these company revenue taxes regardless of our persevering with protest and it’s however proper that we’ll be granted a refund due to the folks’s victory within the Supreme Court docket.

The refund may quantity to tens of billions that might assist pay months of water consumption by customers,” the petitioner added.  

Bayan Muna argued that the 30-day interval for the submitting of protest earlier than the NWRB has but to prescribe contemplating that the SC’s ruling got here out solely this month.  

“We argue that it is just now that each concessionaires are declared public utilities granting us the clear proper to file a protest with the NWRB. Subsequently, it is just now that the 30-day rule needs to be required,” he mentioned. 

“We’re grateful of the Supreme Court docket for siding with the customers within the landmark resolution. We simply hope that it completes the reduction requested by customers and grants us the best to demand a refund and take again the billions we paid for the company revenue tax of the Maynilad and Manila Water arbitrarily imposed on us regardless of our opposition,” Bayan Muna’s assertion learn.



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