Villar denies family is eyeing Metro Manila water deal
Manila, Philippines — Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar on Wednesday denied speculations that his family-owned water firm is eyeing to replace Manila Water Company, Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc. to become Metro Manila’s water concessionaire.
The Villar family owns Prime Water Infrastructure Corp. which has taken over a string of local water utilities in provinces and cities.
President Rodrigo Duterte had publicly attacked Manila Water and Maynilad over alleged onerous provisions in their 1997 water concession deals with the government. The DOJ, together with the Office of the Solicitor General, is now crafting new water deals for the two companies.
Duterte likewise alluded to the Villar family as a potential player in the water utility sector, even as he threatened to charge the businessmen behind these two water concessionaires of economic sabotage.
When asked if his family is interested in water supply contracts in Metro Manila, the DPWH chief briefly replied, “No.”
However, Villar was quick to point out that he cannot speak on behalf of their conglomerate as he has “no involvement” in the family business, being in government.
The President has been cordial with the Villar family, even claiming that he would support its patriarch, former Senate President Manny Villar, if he seeks the presidency once again.
The Villar patriarch once ran for president but lost to Duterte’s predecessor, former President Noynoy Aquino. In 2019, he was declared the Philippines’ richest man in the Forbes’ 2019 list of the World’s Billionaires, with a net worth of $5.5 billion.
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