Manila Water secures new concession agreement
The government and Manila Water signed a new concession agreement following negotiations triggered by President Rodrigo Duterte’s strong criticism of the existing deal due to alleged onerous provisions, according to a report by GMA News.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed the development on Wednesday.
“I was informed that the signatures were completed today. MWSS (Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System) signed for the government,” he said.
Guevarra declined to disclose the key features of the deal for now, although he previously said the government’s objective was to remove the unfair terms “without making the concession less economically viable.”
After Manila Water, the government’s water concession review panel will try to get a similar deal with Maynilad.
“The panel will start discussions with Maynilad after the Holy Week,” Guevarra said.
Sought for comment, Manila Water spokesperson Jeric Sevilla said the company has yet to secure a copy of the new concession agreement.
The 1997 concession agreements came under scrutiny after Manila Water and Maynilad won in separate multi-billion peso arbitration cases abroad, infuriating Duterte.
He protested on several occasions in 2019 a clause in the concession agreements that holds the government liable if it interferes with the implementation of water rates and accountable to indemnify the companies for losses incurred.
He also threatened to arrest the owners of the water firms for alleged economic sabotage.
The two water companies later decided not to demand payment amid Duterte’s tirades against them.
Manila Water provides water and wastewater services to the eastern part of Metro Manila, particularly the cities of Mandaluyong, San Juan, Pasig, Marikina, Taguig, the municipality of Pateros, and portions of Makati, Manila and Quezon City, as well as the province of Rizal.
Maynilad, meanwhile, currently serves customers in the cities of Caloocan, Las Piñas, Makati, Malabon, Manila, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Parañaque, Pasay, Quezon, Valenzuela.
It also services certain areas in Cavite such as the cities of Bacoor, Cavite, and Imus, as well as the towns of Kawit, Noveleta and Rosario.
The existing contracts will expire in 2022.
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