Amended water concession deals for release soon — MWSS

Published November 9, 2020, 5:30 AM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Emmanuel Salamat said the amended water concession deals would be released before end of this year, almost a year after
since President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to come up with a new water concession agreements between the and Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Company Inc..

                In a text message, Salamat said the amended concession deals would be released very soon or before end this year.

               In December last year, Duterte asked the DOJ to draft new water concession agreements between the government and Manila Water and Maynilad and remove the supposedly illegal and onerous provisions of the existing deals. The existing deals are set to expire in 2022, after Duterte cancelled the earlier approval to extend these contracts up to 2037.

               In April this year, Salamat said that the review of the concession agreements is already done and that the government is now coming up with their amended versions.

               “We are waiting for the draft contract from the DOJ,” he earlier told Business Bulletin. “I’m asking the DOJ if they can release it sooner than expected.”

               The MWSS chief then said that the immediate release of the amended concession contracts will help the agency better manage Metro Manila’s water sources. 

               However, he said that until now, he has “no update” on the deals and that he is “yet to see the revised version.”

               Several times last year, Duterte lambasted MWSS and its concessionaires for their failure to quench Metro Manila’s thirst during a series of water interruption schedules.

               His worst outbursts came as Manila Water announced that it had won an arbitration case it filed against the Philippine government before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), prompting the national government to intervene and order an audit of the contracts and come up with an amended set of provisions for them.  

               To be specific, the international court has ordered the Philippine government to pay the Ayala-led company nearly P7.4 billion for preventing the implementation of its water rate hikes a few years ago.

              This infuriated Duterte, who accused Manila Water and Maynilad of “economic sabotage” and calling out its respective owners for “screwing” the Filipino people for staging a water crisis to jack up rates.

              Manila Water is owned by the Ayala Group, while Maynilad is a joint venture between Manuel V. Pangilinan-led Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) and DMCI Holdings, Inc. (DMCI) of the Consuji family.

             Both companies already scrapped their plans to ask for the billions of money that the government supposedly owed them for winning their respective arbitration cases.