DECEMBER 5, 2019 – Water service provider Maynilad Water Services, Inc. is willing to sit down with government and resolve issues raised by President Rodrigo Duterte on their concession agreement, the company head said on Thursday.
Ramoncito Fernandez, Maynilad president and chief executive officer, said they understand the government’s concern after the president complained of the “lopsided” deal with the firm and that of another private water concessionaire in Metro Manila.
“We have an idea of what the government wants reviewed,” Fernandez said in a chance interview in Taguig City. “We’re just waiting for the formal communication to be sent to us but we’re willing to sit down and discuss with the government.”
@maynilad President and CEO Ramoncito Fernandez says the firm is willing to sit down with the government to resolve the issues on the concession agreement. This comes after President Duterte questioned the onerous provisions in the contract@News5AKSYON @onenewsph pic.twitter.com/5DYDNEQjBo
— Shyla Francisco (@ShylaFrancisco) December 5, 2019
He said the Metro Pacific Investments Corporation only took over from the concession originally held bu Maynilad in 2007 and inherited the agreement approved by the government in 1996.
The corporation had since invested P181 billion to improve the firm’s services, Fernandez said.
A furious Duterte on Tuesday night threatened to file charges of economic sabotage against Maynilad and Manila Water Co., Inc. for taking advantage of Filipinos, after the government setbacks in arbitration cases.
Maynilad won an arbitration case against the government in 2018 amounting to P3.4 billion in fines, while the Ayala-led Manila Water won a P7.3 billion case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore.
Duterte had ordered the Office of the Solicitor General and Department of Finance to amend the concession agreements with the firms.
“We cannot raise or lower the prices of water in this country. If we do that, they will sue us for interference. And they go to file the arbitration, talo talaga tayo,” Duterte said.
Fernandez also denied there is economic sabotage and maintained they have been doing their job and contributing to nation-building.
“Ang [Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System] Regulatory Office ang nagdedecide which expenses are prudent and efficient,” he said. “They also decide which can be charged and which cannot be charged to the customers,” he added. (with reports from Shyla Francisco/MM)
Fernandez:Ang MWSS regulatory office po ang nagdedecide which expenses are prudent and efficient and they also decide which can be charged to consumers. pic.twitter.com/fPgDAKaAc5
— Shyla Francisco (@ShylaFrancisco) December 5, 2019
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