Manila Water files for arbitration in MWSS dispute
MANILA, Philippines - Ayala-led Manila Water on Tuesday said it formally filed a dispute notice with the International Chamber of Commerce challenging the order of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to cut its rates.
The issuance of the dispute notice officially commences the arbitration process.
Manila Water said it decided to go into arbitration after MWSS' decision "cut away significant programs for building and maintaining water and wastewater systems in the east zone which will severely compromise and impair its ability to fulfill its service obligations to its customers.
Earlier this month, the MWSS denied the water firms' petition for a rate increase. It also ordered east zone concessionaire Manila Water to reduce water charges by P7.24/cubic meter and west zone concessionaire Maynilad Water to reduce rates by P1.46/cubic meter in the next five years.
The concession agreement between MWSS and Manila Water provides for arbitration to resolve disagreements or dispute relating to the agreement, which cannot be resolved through consultation or negotiation among the parties.
The arbitration panel shall be appointed and will conduct proceedings in accordance with the arbitration rules of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law.
The panel will be composed of three members: one member appointed by Manila Water and another member appointed by MWSS and the third member, the Appeals Chairman, appointed by the President of the International Chamber of Commerce.
Until panel arrives at a final decision on the tariff determination, existing water rates shall remain in effect.