By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT
The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and concessionaires will exert all necessary efforts to comply with the directive of the government to execute a new water concession agreement after 2022 which is currently being drafted by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
This was announced by MWSS Administrator Emmanuel B. Salamat in a statement and manifesto on the status of the concession agreements and the next steps issued recently.
“MWSS is fully engaged in continuing to ensure the performance of its mandates under Republic Act No. 6234, as well as to achieve the purpose for, and the intention behind, the directives of the President (Rodrigo Duterte). It is committed to materially contribute to the satisfactory resolution of the various issues for all the stakeholders,” said Salamat in the statement.
The MWSS chief stressed, “The continuity of the water sector PPP depends on strong communication channels and handholding engagement so that the basic access to water and wastewater services will not be jeopardized, which includes fully addressing and accomplishing the urgent call for new water and sewerage infrastructure projects.”
Salamat said that in recent weeks, there have been significant events and developments concerning the actions of MWSS, through its Board of Trustees, as well as various official pronouncements by the President and other government agencies and officials, regarding the Concession Agreements with Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (MWSI) and Manila Water Services, Inc. (MWCI).
The MWSS chief also clarified that the 25-year Concession Agreements (1997-2022) with Maynilad and MWCI are still valid and subsisting contracts.
He explained that the MWSS Board Resolution No. 2019-201-CO of December 9, 2019 only revoked the previous Board Resolution No. 2009-72 of April 26, 2009 involving the extension period from 2022 to 2037 of Manila Water Company and Board Resolution No. 2009-180 of September 10, 2009 involving the extension of concession period from 2022 to 2037 of Maynilad Water Services, Inc.
Salamat said that such action of the Board did not result in the rescission or outright cancellation of the said contracts, which requires a separate and distinct act to be legally effective.
“As such, the government through the MWSS is giving the two concessionaires the opportunity to renegotiate and agree on the new terms of the Concession Agreement,” Salamat said.
MWSS has been expressly directed to renegotiate the Concession Agreements with Manila Water and Maynilad in order to remove the illegal and onerous provisions of the same as determined by the DOJ, as well as to include such other provisions that are beneficial to the consumers and the entire nation, the MWSS chief also said.