Gov’t finalizing details of new deal with Manila Water

PHILIPPINE STAR/ GEREMY PINTOLO

THE GOVERNMENT’S new water concession contract with Ayala-led Manila Water Co., Inc. will be finalized this week, according to the Justice department.

“We already ironed out major issues in our previous meeting. We will have a meeting this coming Wednesday. And I suppose, kung ano man ‘yung natirang minor points ay mapa-plantsa na ‘yun during the meeting,” Justice Secretary Menardo I. Gueverra told a televised press briefing on Monday.

The talks with Maynilad Water Services, Inc., which holds the concession for the west zone of Metro Manila, will start after the deal with Manila Water is finalized, Mr. Guevarra said.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte ordered the Justice department to review the government’s concession agreements with the two water companies after discovering “onerous” provisions in the existing contracts. He also threatened to file a case of economic sabotage against them.

The President’s directive came after an international arbitration court ruled that the Philippine government must pay Manila Water P7.4 billion and Maynilad P3.4 billion for losses incurred from unenforced water rate increases. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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