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Water Concessionaire Issue Sparks Warnings From Pres. Duterte for Wealthy Businessmen

DUTERTE – Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued warnings against the wealthy businessmen over the “water concessionaire” issue.

Previously, the Philippine President spoke at the Malacañang Palace regarding the issues surrounding the contract of the government and the water concessionaires – the Manila Water and Maynilad. The Chief Executive is very mad and has issued warnings.

Rodrigo Roa Duterte
Photo Courtesy of Lean Daval Jr/Reuters

The President was triggered by the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore ordering the Philippine government to pay billions to the water concessionaires. Based on a report on GMA News, the President stressed that the agreement between the government and the water concessionaires is unfair on the part of the former.

Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte emphasized that the water concessionaires are just distributors and the water belongs to the people. However, in the agreement, in case the water concessionaires do not meet their profits, the government would have to pay for it.

Based on the report, the government is ordered to pay Php 7.39 billion to Manila Water over its losses. The said water concessionaire asked for Php 5.83 increase per cubic meter before but the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) only granted Php 1.48.

In October 2018, a Php 3.4-billion worth of arbitral award for Maynilad was granted for its losses. Reportedly, it is due to MWSS rejecting the increase sought by the water concessionaire from 2013 to 2017.

“Ang kontrata napaka-taligid na tagilid because if they fail to realize the profit and during the lifetime of the contract or in any period, babayad tayo sa nalugi nila,” the President explained.

Photo Source: ABC News

Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte warned to file “economic sabotage” against the people involved in the said contract. The names of wealthy businessmen Jaime Zobel-Ayala and Manny Pangilinan were even mentioned.

The Manila Water is under the Ayala Corporation while Pangilinan is a stake-holder in Maynilad. Aside from the two (2) wealthy businessmen, Senator Franklin Drilon’s name was also mentioned by the President.

According to him, he “distinctly” recall that the Senator allegedly told him not to tinker with the agreement or the government will end up paying billions. Based on the report, he raised a question asking the Senator if he is one of those who crafted the deal.

Sen. Drilon denied being involved in the crafting of the water concessionaire’s agreement with the government. On the part of the Manila Water, the water concessionaire claimed that the award they got is due to the previous administration breaching certain procedure.

Pres. Duterte has already ordered the authorities to act on the water concessionaire issue. He wants the extension of the contract of Maynila and Manila Water until 2037 cancelled. Supposedly, the contract of the two (2) water concessionaires are only until 2022.

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READ ALSO: MWSS Imposes P1-Billion Penalty To Manila Water Over Water Crisis

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