Duterte Administration may nullify deal extension with Maynilad, Manila Water —Pimentel

Maris Federez   •   December 9, 2019   •   354

MANILA, Philippines— A lawmaker believes that the present administration can nullify the extension of the concession agreement of the government with Maynilad and Manila Water.

Several members of the Senate of the Philippines agree to have the said concession agreement reviewed.

Senator Koko Pimentel said if the government is not satisfied with the performance of the two water concessionaires, it can very well put a stop on the extension of their contracts.

“Since hindi pa expired ang original contract wala pang 2022, hindi pa pwedeng i-invoke ang extension kung talagang extension yan. So, therefore, since hindi pa yan implemented, pwede pa siyang idisregard ng Duterte Administration,” Pimentel said.

He added that when the existing contract expires, the government must issue more comprehensive and stricter guidelines in the next contract.

“Ngayon, ang pagpili ng bagong concessionaire, ilabas na ang lahat ng pagka-istrikto nung mga mamimili na ito na talaga yung aming mga parameters,” he said.

Pimentel also said that the government can also look for new concessionaires, or should it enter into new agreements with Maynilad and Manila Water, such must be under much stricter rules. —(from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Maynilad announces 4-18 hour rotational water interruptions

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 5, 2020

Maynilad has announced that there will be rotational water interruptions from 4 to 8 hours due to the low water level in Angat and Ipo dam.

From 101 meters — which is the maintaining level of Ipo Dam— it dropped to 100.20 meters as of Wednesday (February 5) at 6:00 a.m.

Maynilad Spokesperson Grace Laxamana said it would take time for the water supply to be delivered to customers’ houses due to the low water level in the said dams.

“So kapag mabagal iyong treatment process siyempre mas mabagal rin ang pagpuno ng mga reservoirs natin bago natin mai-deliver sa mga customer natin, (So if the treatment process is slow, it will take time to fill the reservoirs before it can be delivered to our customers),” she said.

Around 80 percent of Maynilad’s customers will experience the rotational water interruption.

Maynilad advises its customers to take note of the rotational service interruption in their area and make sure to conserve water.

“Sinisiguro natin na magkakaroon naman sila araw-araw ng tubig kaya po huwag silang mag-hoard at ipunin lamang iyong kinakailangan nila for the whole day (We are ensuring [customers] will have enough water supply everyday so they should not hoard and just reserve enough water for the whole day),” Laxamana said.—AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

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Villar denies family is interested in taking over Metro Manila water distribution

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 22, 2020

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar has denied allegations that his family has interest in taking over the water distribution sector in Metro Manila.

When asked during a press briefing at Malacañang, Villar responded, “No.”

“I’m not in any position to answers questions regarding those I have no involvement,” he added.

Villar’s family owns the PrimeWater Infrastructure Corporation, which provides water supply in several provinces.

President Rodrigo Duterte has warned Maynilad and Manila Water that he would revoke the present water contracts if they refuse to agree with the new terms presented by the government.

Duterte offers new concession deals to Maynilad, Manila Water

Robie de Guzman   •   January 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has offered water companies, Maynilad and Manila Water, new concession deals that will replace existing agreements with provisions that are allegedly disadvantageous to the government and the public, Malacañang said Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president made the offer after the Department of Justice and Office of the Solicitor General presented the new contracts during their Cabinet meeting on Monday night.

Panelo said the new concession contracts do not contain the supposedly onerous provisions in the existing contracts which were signed in 1997.

“The Chief executive is giving the water concessionaires the option of accepting the new contracts without any guarantee of not being criminally prosecuted together with those who conspired to craft the very onerous contracts which are void ab initio for violating the constitution and the laws of the land,” he told reporters at a Palace briefing.

Should Maynilad and Manila Water refuse to accept the new contracts, Panelo said Duterte will order the cancellation of their current concession deals, and prosecute all those behind the crafting of the 1997 water agreement.

He would also order for the nationalization of water services in their respective areas of operation.

“Should Maynilad and Manila Water refuse to accept the new agreements, the Chief Executive will order the cancellation of their present water contracts, mandate the nationalization of water services in their respective areas of operation and prosecute all those involved, directly or indirectly, in the arrangement that led to the present suffering of the Filipino people,” Panelo said.

In a statement, Maynilad said it has yet to receive a copy of the revised agreement. It also gave reassurance of continuing cooperation amid its contract woes.

Manila Water has yet to issue a statement on the matter.

Duterte did not provide a deadline to the water concessionaires about his offer.

The water firms’ woes came after Duterte assailed the two Metro Manila water concessionaires for allegedly taking advantage of the ‘onerous, lopsided’ contracts to “milk” Filipinos by the billions.

The chief executive earlier threatened to file economic sabotage raps against the water concessionaires and other officials involved in the crafting of the deals following the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore’s order to pay Manila Water P7.4 billion, and Maynilad P3.6 billion about two years ago as compensation for losses or damages.

The two water firms separately took the government to court after the MWSS rejected their respective petitions to raise water rates a few years ago. The firms cited its concession deal which prohibits the government from setting water rates, and pushes for indemnification for possible losses in the event of such government interference.

But the two firms in December said they will no longer pursue the awards, and assured cooperation as the present government reviews the provisions in the agreements. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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