New ‘equitable’ contract ‘won’t kill’ Maynilad, Manila Water — Guevarra
MANILA, Philippines — The “more equitable” contract that the government is drafting for the Manila Water Co. and Maynilad Water Services Inc. is “not something that will kill” the two water concessionaires, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Wednesday.
Instead, he said the new contract will only eliminate the “onerous and highly disadvantageous” provisions under the present supply deals of the two water utilities.
“That’s a good contract. It’s not something that will kill the water concessionaires,” Guevarra said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
He estimated that six months would be enough to “firm up everything,” present the contract to the water concessionaires, “and probably they can react already within that period.”
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier offered Maynilad and Manila Water the option to accept a new concession agreement that will replace existing provisions that “rip off” consumers.
Should the companies refuse, Duterte said he would order the nationalization of the water distribution system and push through with his plan to prosecute officials of the firms for economic plunder or large-scale estafa.
“It’s either they accept with no guarantee that they will 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,” the President earlier told reporters in Malacañang.
An economic analyst, however, described this offer as “like putting a gun to their (concessionaires’) heads,” a claim Guevarra was also quick to refute.
“A gun will kill you. It’s not something that we will offer to the water concessionaires. It’s something that will give life, life in the sense that it will be a better contract. You remove all illegal provisions, you put in terms that will be more equitable to the government and people,” the Justice secretary said.
Edited by MUF
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