Water deals bad for gov’t — DOJ

December 08, 2019
Menardo Guevarra

JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra has 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 water concessionaires. 

Guevarra issued the statement after 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 approving their proposed rate hikes, while Maynilad was awarded a P3.424-billion reimbursement in 2017.

He said 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” to 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 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.