Senators approved on third and final reading Senate Bill No. 2518, which seeks to remove the conditions of all unpaid taxes amounting to P842 million due from more than 500 local water districts (LWDs) in the country.
“We are delighted that Congress has recognized the unique role of water districts”, said PAWD Spokesperson Art Villasan.
“The passage of this bill will greatly help the water districts consolidate their resources that can be used for capital development, expand water services and provide better potable water.”
PAWD Chairman Romeo Garcia, on the other hand, said that the financial viability of water districts depends on the level of the water tariff passed on to the general public and that the water tariffs are set using full cost recovery without considering a provision for income taxes.
“If the bill will be put into a law, our consumers of about 20 million Filipinos would not have to shoulder increased water rates due to taxation,” he added.
Meanwhile, PAWD Technical Coordinator Joel Baldelovar encouraged all LWDs to remain steadfast in their commitment of providing safe, adequate, and affordable water to Filipinos in the countryside.
“With the bill yet to be signed into law, we, as water districts, should focus on improving our water services especially during this summer time”, said Baldelovar.
SB No. 2518 substituted House Bill No. 3675 authored by Representatives Miro Quimbo, Christopher Co, Emi Calixto-Rubiano and Rodel Batocabe, taking into consideration Senate Bill no. 612, authored by Senators Ralph Recto, Sonny Angara and Cynthia Villar. (Karlo Abarquez)