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Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew

/ 01:16 AM January 18, 2020

DAVAO CITY – The lights inside the SMX convention hall here blinked in the mid of President Duterte’s renewed rants against Manila’s water concessionaires, prompting the President to call, “Stop!” to the amusement of his audience.

During his speech, the President reiterated his threats to take over the water firms if they would not sign the new water contract drafted by the government after his administration found a lot of provisions in the existing contract “onerous.” “…(M)y stand is the contract was void,” he said.

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“(N)ull and void right at the beginning of its life in 1957 (1997). Wala na lang tayong magawa kasi ‘yung iba patay na, ‘yung iba matanda na (We can’t do anything because those who signed it were already dead or were too old). Well, it started during the time of Ramos and it was also,” the President paused, as the light at SMX hall flickered.

“Sandali ‘yung ilaw napapatay (Just a moment, the light is turning off),” the President said, and motioning towards the light, he called, “Stop!” which generated chuckles among the crowd, most of whom had heard about Pastor Apollo Quiboloy claiming to have ordered a strong earthquake here to stop at the height of the shaking.

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“You stop flickering, I’m talking,” the President said. When the flickering stopped, the President went back to the water firms, saying it was the first time that he saw a contract that practically surrendered the country’s sovereignty to the water concessionaires.

“Of all the contracts that I’ve seen in my lifetime, (it’s through this one where w)e surrendered sovereignty,” he said. “We allowed our valuable natural [resources] such as water (to be treated as) common commodity. That is a violation of the Constitution.”

He said that under the Constitution, water, air and all-natural resources supposedly belonged to the state.

“All water, lahat, air belongs to the state… It is the property of the state and ultimately the Filipino people. (But in the contract, t)hey treated it as a common commodity,” he said.

The President also questioned the provisions giving the water firms the option to raise the water rates and to pass on to the consumers the cost of the corporate taxes they were paying the government.

The President said he would “nationalize” the country’s water distribution and sue the water firms for estafa and plunder if the water firms would reject the new contract being drafted by the government.

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TAGS: Ayala, Manila Water, Maynilad, Pangilinan, President Duterte
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