Bandera

MWSS revokes agreement with Maynilad, Manila Water

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THE Metropolit­an Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) has revoked the extension of concession agreements of both Manila Water Company, Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc., the two firms distribute water in Metro Manila and adjacent provinces.

MWSS Deputy Administra­tor for Engineerin­g Leonor Cleofas revealed the cancellati­on of the extension during the joint House of Representa­tives hearing of the good government and public accountabi­lity and public accounts committees.

The extension of the concession agreements until 2037 was approved by the MWSS in a board resolution in 2009.

Due to the revocation, however, the water firms’ concession will end in 2022.

“The new board, based on the recent directive of the President on the Cabinet meeting, they are now revoking the board resolution,” Cleofas said.

She added that the decision to revoke the extension was made during an MWSS board meeting last Friday, December 5.

Officials of Manila Water and Maynilad said they only received the notice of the revocation on Wednesday.

Manila Water and Maynilad distribute water in Metro Manila and parts of Cavite and Rizal provinces under agreements signed with MWSS in 1997.

The Permanent Court of Arbitratio­n in Singapore earlier ordered the Philippine government to pay Manila Water Company, Inc. and Maynilad P7.39 billion and P3.4 billion for losses incurred due to the non-implementa­tion of rate hikes, which drew the ire of President Duterte.

Duterte threatened to sue the water firms of economic sabotage last week over their alleged “onerous” concession agreements.

The President also ordered Solicitor General Jose Calida and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to come up with a new water concession contract that is favorable to the public and the government.

During a recent Cabinet meeting, the Department of Justice (DOJ) reported that it had found that Manila Water and Maynilad’s contracts are disadvanta­geous not only to the government but more so to water consumers. – Inquirer, Leifbilly Begas

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