Water firms’ woes won’t affect investor confidence — Dominguez

Published December 17, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Chino S. Leyco

DAVAO CITY—Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s pronouncements against water concessionaires’ perceived “disadvantageous” dealings with the government should not affect investor confidence.

On the sidelines of Sulong Pilipinas Agribusiness Summit 2019, Dominguez said the ongoing review of water concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad’s contracts should be viewed as “a good signal” to the private sector.

Dominguez explained that President Duterte’s review of the two water concessionaires’ alleged onerous contracts cannot be construed that the state has already abrogated its obligations with the water firms.

“People have to understand that what is being reviewed are terms that are onerous to the Philippines, to the nation. It’s not the government, it’s the taxpayers,” Dominguez told reporters.

He also pointed out the proposed renegotiation is not a unitary decision of the President, noting the plan is also supported by Manila Water and Maynilad.

“The concessionaires have signaled that they’re willing to revisit those terms, so I think that should be a good signal to the rest of the investing community that you know people look at the interest of the nation as a whole,” the finance chief said.

Dominguez further said that a review of government contracts should be done regularly.

“It should not [affect investor confidence] because they [water concessionaires] have themselves said that they are willing to do the review,” he said.

“When we bid out the contract for the water concession in New Clark City, this onerous terms were not there. And yet, Manila Water bid, so it must be acceptable to them. So there’s no issue, or should not be an issue,” the finance chief added.