Mindanao Times

Congress may delegate President takeover of water services


MANILA – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday said Congress may delegate to President Rodrigo Duterte the power of the state to take over the operation of public utilities, particular­ly water services, amid a looming water crisis in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

Lacson, however, noted that the President must declare an emergency first before Congress could delegate such power to him.

“Given a looming if not already existing water crisis, under Sec. 17, Art VII of the 1987 Constituti­on and existing jurisprude­nce (David vs Arroyo, GR No 171396 on May 3, 2006), Congress may delegate to the President the power of the state to take over the operation of public utilities,” Lacson said.

“However, the President has to declare an emergency, and if Congress delegates that power to him, the government must be ready to compensate whatever losses the private concession­aire(s) would incur during the period of the government takeover,” he added.

Lacson’s proposal came after President Duterte said he is considerin­g the use of “extraordin­ary powers of the presidency” to fast-track the constructi­on of the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam project to prevent another water crisis in Metro MaMANILA


“I will use the extraordin­ary powers of the presidency. I could not just allow people to go about without water even for drinking,” Duterte said in a media interview in Malacañang on Monday.

Duterte said despite opposition by groups, which claimed that the constructi­on of the Kaliwa Dam would displace indigenous peoples (IPs), he felt it would benefit more people.

The President said the government could easily place “safeguards” for the land and people that may be affected by the constructi­on of the China-funded dam.

“It might create some danger and damage but that is not my concern. My concern is the welfare. The greatest good for the greatest number. That is democracy,” he added. (PNA)

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