Manila Water says sorry for angering Duterte
MANILA, Philippines —Manila Water has apologized for upsetting President Rodrigo Duterte after an international tribunal ruled in favor of the country’s two water concessionaires.
Manila Water president Jose Rene Almendras explained that the case was filed as early as 2015 but the ruling by the Singapore-based Permanent Court of Arbitration was only made earlier under the Duterte administration.
“It’s unfortunate po na nagalit ang Pangulo. Hindi po namin pagnanasa na magbigay ng problema sa Pangulo,” Almendras said during the hearing of the Senate committee on public services on Wednesday.
(It’s unfortunate the President got mad. We didn’t mean to give the President any problem)
“Ayaw po naming kalabanin ang Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte po dahil mabuti po ang ginagawa nya para sa taumbayan. Sumusuporta kami.”
(We don’t want to fight President Rodrigo Duterte because he is doing what is good for the people. We support him)
“Humihingi po kami ng paumanhin kung nagalit sya dahil sa arbitral ruling. Kaya po namin inatras yung arbitral ruling dahil nagsalita na po ang Pangulo na hindi nya gusto ‘to. At kami po ay nakakaintindi at marunong naman po kaming makaintindi kaya ho kami nagpasya na hindi na itutuloy,” the official said.
(We apologize if the arbitral ruling angered him. That’s why we waived the arbitral ruling because the President does not want it. We understand, that’s why we decided not that we will not push for it)
The apology was prompted by Senator Christopher “Bong” Go’s queries as to why the water concessionaires— Manila Water and Maynilad— had decided to waive the close to P11 billion payment from the government.
The arbitration tribunal has ordered the government to pay Manila Water P7.4 billion and another P3.4 billion to Maynilad due to losses they incurred when they were barred from raising water rates over the past several years.
When Go further asked why they agreed to waive the compensation, Almendras repeated that it was because the President had already spoken against the court’s ruling.
“Ayaw po naming galitin ang Pangulo. Susunod po kami sa Pangulo. Sya po ang lider ng ating bansa,” he said.
(We don’t want to anger the President. We will follow the President. He’s the leader of our country)
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