Public Hearing On Water Rates Hike

(Top) Amarylis Josephine Castro, MIWD Water Rates Committee Chair and Finance Department Manager, explains to the consumers of Leganes the need and legal basis for water rate increase.

(Below) Engr. Romeo Diaz, LWUA Hearing Officer, answers the question of a social welfare officer of the local government of Sta. Barbara, while GM Magsuci and Castro listen.

Metro Iloilo Water District has kicked off its series of public hearing on the proposed water rates increase.

The public hearing started on February 20 in the municipality of Maasin and Cabatuan, February 21in Sta. Barbara and Pavia, and February 22 in Oton and San Miguel in. Public hearing for Leganes and Iloilo City was conducted in February 23.

MIWD general manager Imelda Magsuci said that the public hearing on water rates increase is a prerequisite prior to the approval of the Local Water Utilities Administration of MIWD’s application for tariff adjustment.

Said requirement is provided for in Presidential Decree No. 198, as amended, which compels all water districts over the Philippines to conduct public hearing for any tariff increase.

Sections 37 and 63 of PD No. 198 also provide legal basis for the water district to effect any increase in its water rates.

GM Magsuci said that the increase is long overdue because its last increase took effect in 2004.

“We need to increase our rates in order to expand and improve our service coverage, continue in carrying out our mandate in providing safe and sufficient water and rehabilitate our dilapidated pipelines to minimize our non-revenue water or losses, she explained.

According to her for the past 13 years that MIWD has not increased its water rates, operating expenses as well as capital expenditures were absorbed by the Water District.

“We now have insufficient funds to sustain our operation due to rising costs of materials for service connection installation and chemicals,” she added.

Once the application of MIWD for rate increase is approved by the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) this month, the new rate increase will take effect in the March 2018 consumption of consumers and will be reflected in their billing the following month.

From the existing P159.00, the new water rate for the first 10 cubic meters for residential classification will now be P200.00, while the commercial rate will be twice of the domestic rate.

Other than this, MIWD will also incorporate the two percent (2%) franchise tax in the water bill.

“In the past, this was not implemented because it was not presented in the 1998 water rates public hearing,” Magsuci clarified.

The franchise tax, however, will be remitted to the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

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