outbrain
Close  

Lagman: Water deals protected by Constitution

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 03:23 AM January 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The concession deals of Maynilad and Manila Water are protected by the 1987 Constitution from any “impairment” or unilateral revision by the Duterte administration, an opposition lawmaker said on Monday.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, a member of the opposition Liberal Party, said President Rodrigo Duterte’s threats to take over the two water concessionaires, should they reject the terms of a revised agreement, would violate the constitutional guarantee on the freedom to contract.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The Constitution protects contracts from impairment by the State,” Lagman said in a statement.

“The mere say-so of the Duterte administration that the water concessions contain onerous provisions must pass judicial scrutiny, and any one-sided investigation by the administration will never suffice,” Lagman said.

FEATURED STORIES

He also cautioned the government that its bullying tactics against Manila Water and Maynilad might have a detrimental impact on investments.

“One of the major factors considered by potential investors is the predictability of the enforcement of government policies, and any constitutional violation of the freedom to contract derogates that certainty,” Lagman said.

‘Drive away investors’

“The President’s threats that if the water concessionaires will not accept his imposition, the government will take over the water utilities will further drive away investors,” he said.

Lagman cited a report by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showing that foreign direct investments plunged 32.8 percent from January to October in 2019.

But Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Monday played down Malacañang’s threat to force new contracts on the two water concessionaires.

He said the new concession agreements being drafted by the Department of Justice would “not be absolutely imposed” upon Maynilad and Manila Water.

“These proposed new contracts will not be absolutely imposed upon the water concessionaires, as they will be given a reasonable opportunity to comment on the proposed amendments in an open and public discussion of the issues,” he told reporters on Monday.

ADVERTISEMENT

Guevarra on Monday stressed that government takeover of water distribution services in Metro Manila “is the government’s last option.”

“These proposed new contracts intend to remove all illegal provisions and foster greater transparency and equitability in rate-setting, and should therefore provide a more stable and comfortable environment for investors,” he told reporters.

Read Next
LATEST STORIES
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Constitution, Edcel Lagman, Manila Water, Maynilad Water, Rodrigo Duterte, water deals
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2020 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.