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The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) has slapped softdrinks manufacturer Pepsi Cola Products Philippines, Inc. (PCPPI) a penalty totalling PhP11.8 million for operating six deepwells in its plant in Muntinlupa City without appropriate permit from the agency. NWRB is an attached agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

In an order, dated April 19, 2018, the company was initially ordered to pay a penalty amounting to PhP11.58 million. However, this has increased to PhP11.8 million as it was only on June 11 that operatives of NWRB, with support from Task Force DENR Enforcers Metro Manila and the Philippine National Police, were able to enter the company’s premises and successfully sealed the illegal deepwells.

Atty. Archie Asuncion, head of NWRB’s Litigation and Adjudication Unit, said that the penalty imposed on PCPPI was set at P1,000.00 per day per source (deepwell), reckoned from January 10, 2013 up to June 11, 2018.

It will be recalled that on June 11, 2018, operatives from NWRB, DENR and PNP raided the softdrinks plant in Muntinlupa to enforce a Supreme Court decision G.R. No. 22166 entitled Pepsi Cola Products Philippines, Inc. vs. National Water Resources Board, which has become final and executory on April 17, 2017.

The raid and sealing of PCPPI deepwells were done on orders of DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, through Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny Antiporda.

NWRB, the agency that monitors and regulates the use of all water resources, said the sealing of illegal deepwells is done to lessen the depletion of groundwater resources in the country.

“The sealing was done after the raiding team disconnected the riser and submersible pumps of the deepwells from the power supply and computer box,” Antiporda said.

Citing a 2004 study commissioned by the NWRB, Antiporda said the groundwater in the area was already “critical,” and its extraction has been causing land subsidence. ###