MWSS asks Manila Water, Maynilad to explain unannounced service disruptions

Robie de Guzman   •   June 21, 2019   •   1890

MANILA, Philippines – The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) has formally asked concessionaires, Manila Water and Maynilad to explain the recent unannounced water service disruptions reported by affected residents in Metro Manila.

MWSS chief regulator Atty. Patrick Ty said a notice to explain has been sent to the water companies, warning them as well for not following the schedule for water service interruptions.

Early this week, water consumers of Manila Water and Maynilad complained about the late posting of water interruption schedules.

READ: Customers irked over late water interruption advisory from Manila Water, Maynilad

Ty added the MWSS Regulatory Office is now studying possible penalties that could be imposed on the concessionaires over unannounced water service interruptions.

The official said that at present, a concessionaire may only be sanctioned if the surprise water disruption occurred for 30 days.

Water concessionaires earlier urged for public understanding as they are still working on fixing the service disruption schedule amid limited water allocation.

The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) earlier said the water allocation for MWSS will be further reduced starting Saturday (June 22) when the water elevation at Angat Dam is expected to hit the critical level of 160 meters.

READ: NWRB: Angat dam to hit critical level on Saturday

The NWRB said at least 36 cms will be allocated for the MWSS should Angat dam water level drops below 160 meters.

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)

Consumer group hopes water concession agreement issue won’t end in lawsuit

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 3, 2020

Laban Konsyumer Inc. hopes that the water concession agreement issue won’t end in lawsuit.

The consumer group said that water distribution might be affected if President Rodrigo Duterte will push through with his threat to file a lawsuit against the water concessionaires.

According to the president of Laban Konsyumer Inc., Victor Dimagiba, it would be better if the issue will be settled through a negotiation to avoid customer inconvenience.

“Hopefully, hindi na tayo mapupunta sa husgado (hopefully we won’t have to go to court), mas lalong hindi maganda ang mangyayari (things might get worse) as far as services to the consumers are concerned,” he said.

Dimagiba also said a sufficient evidence would be needed in case there will be no renegotiation and the issue will go to court.

“Kailangan may element na malinaw na niloko tayo at more than P50 million ang halaga. So iyon ang threshold na kailangan mong i-prove, (There should be a clear element that there was a fraud worth more than P50 million. So that is the threshold to be proven),” he said.

President Duterte previously warned he would put the owners of the water concessionaires in jail for economic sabotage.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte threatens to arrest water tycoons Ayala, Pangilinan

Marje Pelayo   •   December 31, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to put in jail owners of water concessionaires for alleged “issue of corruption.”

Business tycoons Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala owns Manila Water Co. as its subsidiary while Manuel Pangilinan owns majority of Maynilad Water Services Inc.

Duterte said he will have the two moguls arrested for “non-bailable” offenses of syndicated estafa or plunder following the two concessionaires’ alleged ‘onerous contracts’ with the government’s Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).

“Si Ayala pati si Pangilinan, kapag nagkamali iyang mga gagong iyan, ipakukulong ko talaga sila,” Duterte said.

“Kita mo kahit anong insulto ko, hindi sumasagot. Sigurado swak sila sa syndicated estafa,” he added.

READ: Duterte threatens to file economic sabotage raps over ‘onerous’ water contracts

President Duterte during the height of the controversy earlier warned to file charges of economic sabotage against the two concessionaires for the alleged onerous concession deals. – MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

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