Metro Manila — President Rodrigo Duterte will take over water concessionaires and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) if a national crisis is declared, his spokesperson said.
“He said if you can not solve the crisis, I will do it for you,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a press conference Tuesday.
Panelo explained that this is based on the powers granted to the President by Article 12, Section 17 of the 1987 Constitution, which states: “In times of national emergency, when the public interest so requires, the State may, during the emergency and under reasonable terms prescribed by it, temporarily take over or direct the operation of any privately owned public utility or business affected with public interest.”
He said that Duterte will invoke this power if the current water crisis worsens.
“Kung grabe na ang water crisis, wala na tayong tubig na maiinom,” Panelo said.
This would mean a take over of water concessionaires and a revamp of government agencies like the MWSS, he said.
“Kung pati government institution di maka-solve then ibig sabihin kailangan baguhin yung nasa loob,” the spokesperson said.
Asked who would decide whether the conditions to take over these utilities, such as a national emergency, are present, Panelo said it’s up to Duterte.
“The President. The President receives briefers from everyone concerned so he will decide,” Panelo replied.
Yesterday, Duterte said that he would also use the police powers of the state to confiscate land if he has to, referring to land issues connected with the Kaliwa dam.