House leader backs move to probe onerous water deals

Published December 8, 2019, 2:26 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Ellson Quismorio 

A House leader with vast experience in uncovering shenanigans in government is supporting calls to probe the supposed onerous contracts that the country entered with Manila Water and Maynilad.

Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Pimentel (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Pimentel
(FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)

Deputy Speaker and Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Pimentel thinks it’s only proper for the House of Representatives to look into the water concessionaire contract, which he described as “disadvantageous.”

“I strongly believe that the contract of the two water concessionaires are disadvantageous to the government and the Filipino people,” reckoned Pimentel, member of ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

In the previous 17th Congress, the Mindanao solon chaired the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, which is the House of Representatives’ version of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

Among the issues investigated by the panel in aid of legislation during Pimentel’s chairmanship was the questionable joint venture agreement or JVA between banana producer Tagum Agricultural Development Company Inc. (TADECO) and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

The 25-year deal reportedly cheated the government through BuCor of as much as P106.167 million annually in rental fees.

Also extensively tackled by the panel last Congress was the purchase of 115 land vehicles by the Ilocos Norte Provincial Government to the tune of P66.45 million between 2011 and 2012.

The funds were reportedly sourced from the province’s share of the proceeds from excise taxes collected from locally produced Virginia-type cigarettes, which is illegal under several existing laws.

“I am supporting the position of President [Rodrigo] Duterte,” Pimentel said in connection with the Chief Executive’s criticism on the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System’s (MWSS) deals with Manila Water and Maynilad.

“We country surrendered everything to Manila Water and to Maynilad–everything, including the sovereignty…Hindi ko ito masikmura (I can’t stomach it)…We have lost the sovereignty, we bargained it away. Gusto ko malaman sino ang mga abogado (I want to know who were the lawyers)?” Duterte said.

Another House leader, Cavite fourth district Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, argued that the two water concessionaires still need to cough up nearly P1 billion in fines for violating the Philippine Clean Water Act when it failed to put up sewerage systems in their service areas 10 years ago.

Barzaga recently filed House Resolution (HR) No.572, which prods the Lower Chamber to carry out a probe on the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore saying that the Philippine government has to pay Manila Water P7.39 billion for the losses it incurred from June 1, 2015 to November 22, 2019, or when it was barred from increasing water rates.

“The P7.39 billion comes after the country went through a recent water shortage that brought misery to tens of thousands of Filipinos that still looms when the summer time comes. The right to water is a fundamental human right is and is a key driver of economic and social development and all efforts should be made to ensure that every Filipino has access to clean and potable water,” said the solon, who chairs the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

Barzaga also said the water concession deals ought to be reviewed.

 
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House leader backs move to probe onerous water deals

Published December 8, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Ellson Quismorio 

A House leader with vast experience in uncovering shenanigans in government is supporting calls to probe the supposed onerous contracts that the country entered with Manila Water and Maynilad.

Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Pimentel (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Pimentel
(FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)

Deputy Speaker and Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Pimentel thinks it’s only proper for the House of Representatives to look into the water concessionaire contract, which he described as “disadvantageous.”

“I strongly believe that the contract of the two water concessionaires are disadvantageous to the government and the Filipino people,” reckoned Pimentel, member of ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

In the previous 17th Congress, the Mindanao solon chaired the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, which is the House of Representatives’ version of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

Among the issues investigated by the panel in aid of legislation during Pimentel’s chairmanship was the questionable joint venture agreement or JVA between banana producer Tagum Agricultural Development Company Inc. (TADECO) and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).

The 25-year deal reportedly cheated the government through BuCor of as much as P106.167 million annually in rental fees.

Also extensively tackled by the panel last Congress was the purchase of 115 land vehicles by the Ilocos Norte Provincial Government to the tune of P66.45 million between 2011 and 2012.

The funds were reportedly sourced from the province’s share of the proceeds from excise taxes collected from locally produced Virginia-type cigarettes, which is illegal under several existing laws.

“I am supporting the position of President [Rodrigo] Duterte,” Pimentel said in connection with the Chief Executive’s criticism on the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System’s (MWSS) deals with Manila Water and Maynilad.

“We country surrendered everything to Manila Water and to Maynilad–everything, including the sovereignty…Hindi ko ito masikmura (I can’t stomach it)…We have lost the sovereignty, we bargained it away. Gusto ko malaman sino ang mga abogado (I want to know who were the lawyers)?” Duterte said.

Another House leader, Cavite fourth district Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, argued that the two water concessionaires still need to cough up nearly P1 billion in fines for violating the Philippine Clean Water Act when it failed to put up sewerage systems in their service areas 10 years ago.

Barzaga recently filed House Resolution (HR) No.572, which prods the Lower Chamber to carry out a probe on the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore saying that the Philippine government has to pay Manila Water P7.39 billion for the losses it incurred from June 1, 2015 to November 22, 2019, or when it was barred from increasing water rates.

“The P7.39 billion comes after the country went through a recent water shortage that brought misery to tens of thousands of Filipinos that still looms when the summer time comes. The right to water is a fundamental human right is and is a key driver of economic and social development and all efforts should be made to ensure that every Filipino has access to clean and potable water,” said the solon, who chairs the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

Barzaga also said the water concession deals ought to be reviewed.

 
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