MWC open to compromise on arbitral award

Published December 4, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Madelaine B. Miraflor

Days after it was announced that the international court ordered the Philippine government to pay Manila Water Company (MWC) nearly ₱7.4 billion for preventing the implementation of a water rate hike a few years ago, the Ayala-led company decided not to implicate the Duterte administration for the “acts of breach” of the “officials of the previous administration.”

The listed firm is now “willing to come up with a mutually acceptable manner of implementation of the arbitral award.”

This, as President Rodrigo Duterte launched another tirade against Manila Water and Maynilad Water Services, Inc. for the alleged “onerous” and “disadvantageous” deals they have with the Philippine government and for staging up a water shortage to ask for another round of increase.

In a statement, Manila Water said the arbitral award issued in its favor is for “acts in breach of the procedure committed by officials of the previous administration, not the Duterte administration.”

“When Manila Water received the information about the award, our chairman together with a few other senior officers of the Company sought guidance and met with [Finance] Secretary Carlos Dominguez III before it became public. We informed him that we are willing to come up with a mutually acceptable manner of implementation of the arbitral award considering that this case was filed due to a violation incurred not during this administration,” it added.

The arbitration case stemmed from the Philippine government’s refusal to implement Manila Water’s petition for a rate increase a few years ago. So, Manila Water was forced to bring the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).

Such case has been pending for years until last week when the international court finally ruled that Manila Water has a right to indemnification for actual losses suffered by it on account of the Philippine government’s breach of its obligation.