Guevarra reiterates concerns over govt deal with Manila Water, Maynilad

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday reiterated that the government could lose billions of pesos to Maynilad and Manila Water because of two disadvantageous provisions in its 22-year-old agreements with the said water concessionaires.

Guevarra issued the statement as a Singapore-based arbitration panel ordered the government to pay Manila Water P7.39 billion in years’ worth of losses due to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System’s reduction of water rates instead of an approval of their proposed rate hikes, while Maynilad was awarded a P3.424-billion reimbursement in 2017.

He disclosed that these two provisions were the reason why the government was ordered by the arbitration court to pay the water concessionaires hefty amount.

“These are also the most notable among a dozen provisions that the DOJ deemed “onerous or disadvantageous to the government and the consuming public when it reviewed the agreements upon orders by President Rodrigo Duterte,” Guevarra said.

Also, he revealed that the President has asked the Department of Justice to come up with an “integrated solution” on the MWSS 1997 concession agreements with water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water.

“Our legal remedies are not mutually exclusive. The OSG (Office of the Solicitor General) is contemplating of judicial remedies here and/or abroad. Some members of the Cabinet want an overhaul of the existing concession agreements. Others are thinking of more drastic actions. PRRD has asked the DOJ to come up with an integrated solution. (That) we’ll do,” Guevarra said. #

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