Duterte: PH ‘surrendered everything’ in ‘onerous’ water concession deals
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines “surrendered everything”, including its sovereignty, when it entered into the alleged “onerous” water concession deal with Manila Water and Maynilad in 1997, President Rodrigo Duterte lamented Thursday.
“In that contract, pag mabasa mo (if you read it), our country surrendered everything to Manila Water and to Maynilad–everything, including the sovereignty,” Duterte said during a typhoon situation briefing in Legazpi City, Albay.
“Hindi ko ito masikmura (I cannot take it)…We have lost the sovereignty, we bargained it away,” he added.
The President has slammed the owners of the private firms for allegedly milking billions from the people and the government over the disadvantageous 1997 water contract. He also ordered the filing of appropriate charges against those who were involved in the crafting of the deal.
Duterte also insisted that water was treated as a commodity by the two firms and not as a natural resource.
Maynilad and Manila Water distribute water in Metro Manila and nearby provinces under agreements signed with the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) during the Ramos administration in 1997.
But a review by the Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed a dozen of “onerous” provisions were stipulated in the deal.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore has ordered the Philippine government to pay the Ayala family-owned Manila Water P7.39 billion to compensate it for losses suffered between June 2015 to November 2019 for the non-implementation of water rate hikes. Last year, the government was also ordered to pay the Manny Pangilinan-led Maynilad P3.4 billion by the same Singaporean court due to the Philippines’ refusal to allow it to increase prices from 2013 to 2017.
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