Duterte to nationalize water services if firms reject new deal
MANILA, Philippines — The government would have to take over the water distribution system should water concessionaires reject the new draft of contracts, President Rodrigo Duterte said Tuesday.
“I will have to operate the distribution system. It’s either they accept with no guarantee that they would not be prosecuted or if they do not accept it, then I will nationalize the water system and prosecute them for plunder or estafa on a large scale,” Duterte said in an ambush interview.
Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo earlier said the government is offering water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water new deals without the “onerous” provisions.
“There is no contract but what we are ready to give to the parties, distributors is a draft which we would like to be enforced instead of the old one, which we think is not good for the Filipinos,” Duterte said.
“I have this draft so whether you accept it or not. [If] you do not accept it, then there is no contract,” he added.
Duterte had earlier slammed Maynilad and Manila Water for supposedly milking billions from the people and the government over the disadvantageous 1997 water contract.
The President also previously threatened to sue the water firms due to the “onerous” provisions of its contract with the government.
“After all, as I have said right at the beginning when I saw the contract, I said this document is null and void from the beginning because it has so many provisions that would infringe into the penal laws of the Philippines, particularly the anti-graft and corrupt practices act,” Duterte said.
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