By MADELAINE B. MIRAFLOR
Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Emmanuel Salamat said his agency prefers Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Company Inc. to remain the sole distributors of clean water for Metro Manila instead of handing down the concession deal to a new company.
This is amid the issue surrounding the supposedly onerous concession agreements of MWSS between the two companies.
“They are already familiar [with the water distribution in Metro Manila] and they have laid out plan for development of water source. That is their advantage. If we will tap a new company, we will start all over again with another arrangement,” Salamat said yesterday.
To recall, President Rodrigo Duterte earlier floated Villar-led Prime Water Infrastructure Corp. as one company that could replace Maynilad and Manila Water for the distribution of water for Metro Manila, which is home to more than 12 million people.
Meanwhile, Salamat reiterated that Maynilad and Manila Water’s concession agreements with MWSS are now up for renegotiation and that there’s “no point anymore for these companies to question” the revocation of their respective extended contracts.
It was last week when MWSS Board of Directors revoked the existing board resolution approving the extension of the agency’s concession deals with Maynilad and Manila Water.
As a response, Howard Randy A. Arzadon, Assistant Government Corporate Counsel at the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC), said that Manila Water and Maynilad will be given time to issue their position paper to question the decision on the aforementioned board resolution.
OGCC is the principal and statutory law office of government-owned-and-controlled corporations (GOCC), which oversees the operation of MWSS.
Also last week, MWSS Deputy Administrator for Engineering and Technical Operations Leonor Cleofas admitted that her agency won’t be able to take over the water distribution for Metro Manila moving forward, citing lack of resources and limited manpower.
For his part, Maynilad President and Chief Executive Officer Ramoncito Fernandez has warned earlier that MWSS’ decision will result to “very high water rates” for both Manila Water and Maynilad customers as this will force both companies to fast-track their investments in order to fulfill their water service obligations.