News Flash

August 29, 2015, Saturday
  • Classes at U.P. Manila’s College of Arts and Sciences cancelled on Friday afternoon due to INC rally along Padre Faura St. 9 hours ago |
  • Rains in the area of Padre Faura St. in Manila fail to dampen the spirit of INC members who are protesting at DOJ. 9 hours ago |
  • CBCP says government should not underestimate the message of ‘no remittance day.’ 9 hours ago |
  • Construction of LRT 2 Masinag Extension to begin on Sept. 26. 9 hours ago |
  • Body of a missing seaman found in Tagaytay. 9 hours ago |
  • Palace calls for sobriety as more INC members troop to Padre Faura in Manila to join vigil in front of DOJ. 9 hours ago |
  • PNP’s estimate of INC members gathered in front of DOJ in Padre Faura St. in Manila is 4,000. 9 hours ago |
  • Justice Secretary Leila de Lima not yet seen at DOJ premises as of Friday afternoon. 10 hours ago |
  • Schedule of hearing on libel case filed by Makati Mayor Binay vs. Sen. Trillanes among those postponed on Friday due to INC rally at DOJ. 10 hours ago |
  • INC rally in front of DOJ has prompted the postponement of some hearings in the department. 10 hours ago |
  • Sen. Trillanes says he is ready to face any complaint at Senate Ethics Cmte. with regard to his hiring of over 40 consultants. 10 hours ago |
  • 10 members of the Philippine Marines injured in a battle with about 300 ASG bandits in Patikul, Sulu on Friday morning. 10 hours ago |
  • Radio broadcaster Cosme Diez Maestrado killed in an ambush in Misamis Occidental. 10 hours ago |
  • Anthony Taberna’s wife Rossel says it is ‘business as usual’ in their QC coffee shop after it was fired upon by gunmen. 10 hours ago |
  • Anthony Taberna’s wife Rossel thanks those who are concerned for them after the shooting incident in their QC coffee shop. 10 hours ago |
  • Migrante International says OFWs in Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia & Italy are joining the ‘zero remittance day’ on Friday. 10 hours ago |
  • Migrante International leads a rally at Mendiola in Manila as part of their ‘zero remittance day’ protest. 10 hours ago |
  • OFW Amie Emuslan who has been in comatose in UAE for 4 years finally brought back home. 10 hours ago |
  • Pres. Aquino tells visiting Thai PM that Filipinos are offering their condolences to the Thai people who are Filipinos’ brothers. 11 hours ago |
  • Thai PM Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha expresses sympathy for the Filipino who sustained injury in her hearing during the Aug. 17 Bangkok blast. 11 hours ago |
  • Thai PM who is visiting PH says situation in Thailand now under control since the Aug. 17 Bangkok blast that killed 20 persons. 11 hours ago |
  • Gunmen shot and killed a Chinese tourist who was on board a taxi in Vito Cruz, Manila. 14 hours ago |
  • Anthony Taberna says cops are looking at his job as a media man as possible motive behind the shooting incident at his coffee shop. 14 hours ago |
  • 2 men seen on CCTV firing at the coffee shop of ABS-CBN broadcaster Anthony Taberna in Visayas Ave., QC. 14 hours ago |
  • Padre Faura St. in Manila still closed to traffic on Friday morning due to INC rally in front of DOJ. 14 hours ago |
  • Some INC members continue their vigil in front of DOJ for the second day. 14 hours ago |
  • Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano tells court that part of his privilege as senator includes giving statements on subjects of senate probes. 14 hours ago |
  • Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano asks Makati RTC to dismiss the P 200-million damage suit filed against him by VP Binay. 14 hours ago |
  • BOC Chief Bert Lina shows at a press conference how prohibited items are being smuggled into PH using balikbayan boxes. 14 hours ago |
  • Customs Commissioner Bert Lina says he is listening to the sentiments of OFWs. 14 hours ago |
  • Customs Chief Bert Lina holds a press conference explaining how BOC is handling and inspecting balikbayan boxes. 14 hours ago |

Groups dare Aquino: Scrap ‘unjust’ water contracts

By Christine F. Herrera | Jul. 01, 2013 at 12:02am
CIVIL society groups on Sunday demanded that President Benigno Aquino III rescind the “onerous and immoral” contracts with two private water companies after they were found to have passed on to consumers their corporate income taxes and operating expenses of P15 billion over the last five years.

“The two concessionaires, Maynilad and Manila Water, have effectively turned water service into a profitable business while consumers shoulder the burden of onerous charges and taxes,” said

Sonny Africa, lead convenor of the Water for the People Network (WPN).

“We demand that President Aquino rescind the contract with the two water firms now,” said Africa, who is also executive director of the private think tank IBON databank.

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, which oversees the operations of the concessionaires, declared the pass-on charges “grossly unjust” earlier last month, after the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel found them to be “illegal and without basis.”

Africa said from 2007 to 2011, Maynilad posted a profit of P17.1 billion while Manila Water earned P16.9 billion.

The group demanded an immediate refund from the two firms.

“The two concessionaires said they would contest the legal opinion and the MWSS resolution and if an arbitration is pursued, under the concessionaire agreement, the cost that will be entailed from the arbitration will also be passed on to consumers. How onerous and immoral can that get?” Africa told the Manila Standard.

“We opine that income taxes are not included in the term ‘Philippine Business Taxes’ nor are they considered as operation expenses that would be recovered from MWSS’ consumer base,” said the chief government counsel, Raul Creencia.

The two firms invoked Section 9.4 or the pass-on provision in the concessionaire agreement, arguing that corporate income taxes are covered by the term “Philippine Business Taxes.”

But Creencia said the phrase referred to indirect taxes such as the value added tax, the excise tax, the documentary stamp tax, the percentage tax and real estate taxes, not direct taxes such as corporate income taxes and operating expenses.

In a forum hosted by the WPN and attended by several civil society groups at the University of the Philippines over the weekend, MWSS acting chief regulator Emmanuel Caparas reiterated his position that the pass-on charges were grossly unjust.

“Allowing the concessionaires to pass on their income taxes to consumers is effectively giving the concessionaires a profit on an investment that they did not make,” Caparas said, affirming the MWSS resolution.

The group challenged President Aquino to heed the legal advice of the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, especially since his appointed Cabinet secretaries Rogelio Singson and Rene Almendras were former executives of Maynilad and Manila Water.

Singson was president and CEO of Maynilad before being appointed Public Works and Highways secretary, Africa said.

Almendras, he said, was President Aquino’s former schoolmate in Ateneo and dubbed ‘the little president,’ and had also held various executive positions in several Ayala business interests aside from Manila Water.

“Malacañang has kept mum over the questionable practice of the water concessionaires, despite protests from water consumers,” Africa said.

Africa said the business groups involved in Maynilad and Manila Water were also among those who have cornered lucrative private-public partnership (PPP) projects offered by the Aquino administration.

For instance, he said, the Ayala group (Manila Water) clinched the first PPP project of the Aquino government, the Daang Hari-SLEX Link Road Project.

The Pangilinan group (Maynilad) and the Ayalas have also teamed up to bid for the P60-billion LRT 1 extension, the largest PPP of the Aquino administration, he said.
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