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Water firms not doing anything illegal


Why is the government complaining that Maynilad and Manila Water, two water concessionaires in Metro Manila, is passing on to consumers their income taxes when this is provided for in their contracts?

To ensure the sustainable operations of the two companies, the government guaranteed their rate of return based on expenses for operations, capital investments and Philippine business taxes and payment of debts incurred by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).

Charging the income taxes they pay to the government to their customers is expressly written in their contracts.

So why is the MWSS now complaining about this arrangement?

Has the government, all of a sudden, developed amnesia?

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The Commission on Audit (COA) has disallowed the Philippine National Railways (PNR) from using softwood for its railway bridges.

This column recently exposed the “alarming condition” of railway bridges because of major cracks in the ties due to the use of softwood.

For reasons known only to him, PNR General Manager Junio Ragragio approved the use of softwood, instead of hardwood, for ties.

If a train is derailed or plunges into a river because of the weak ties, blame it on Ragragio.

I wonder why the Office of the Ombudsman has not filed cases against Ragragio and his PNR cohorts for putting train passengers at risk.

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And now, on the lighter side, here is an interesting tidbit in our history.

On July 4, the Aristocrat Restaurant on Roxas Boulevardin Manila, was declared a historical, coinciding with the marking of Philippine-American Friendship Day.

A little known fact about Aristocrat is that it was known as Admiral George Dewey Restaurant when it was founded in 1936.

Malacañang, however, asked the restaurant owner, Engracia C. Reyes, also known as Aling Asiang, to change the name upon the request of the US government.

The US government, then our colonizer, didn’t want the name of Dewey, who is associated with the “battle” on Manila Bay between the US fleet and the Spanish armada, trivialized.

(As an aside, Malacañang in the 1970s ordered the name of a very popular men’s massage parlor changed from Maharlika, supposedly a World War II guerrilla unit that President Marcos founded, to Maalikaya.)

During the Japanese occupation, the restaurant was a favorite hangout of Japanese soldiers because of its ice cream which Aling Asiang concocted herself.

Apparently, many Japanese soldiers tasted ice cream for the first time at the restaurant.

Aristocrat’s earnings sent to law school three members of the Reyes family who became justices: Alejandro, better known as Alex, Aling Asiang’s husband, who became a Supreme Court justice; Andres Sr., former presiding justice of the Court of Appeals; and Andres Jr., current presiding justice of the Court of Appeals.

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Tags: Aling Asiang , Aristocrat , COA , Commission On Audit , Engracia C. Reyes , Junio Ragragio , Manila Water , Maynilad , Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System , MWSS , Philippine National Railways , PNR , Water firms , water services , water supply

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