Duterte wants to set meeting with Manny Pangilinan ‘soon’
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday evening graced the inspection and project presentation of the NLEX Harbor Link C3-R10 section in Caloocan City where he met and invited businessman Manny Pangilinan in a meeting.
President Duterte shakes the hand of Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation chairman Manny Pangilinan after delivering a speech on Thursday evening in Caloocan City. (📸PTV Facebook Screenshots) @inquirerdotnet pic.twitter.com/ILtBPivAa0
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The P6.55-billion project was constructed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in partnership with NLEX Corporation, a unit of Pangilinan’s Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC).
According to Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, Duterte’s former longtime aide, the President told Pangilinan at the end of the program that they should meet “soon.”
“Mag-set (sila ng) meeting soon. PRRD [President Duterte] invited MVP [Pangilinan],” Go told INQUIRER.net in a text message.
Duterte has repeatedly railed against Pangilinan and the Ayala family for their water companies onerous concession contracts with the government, tagging the businessmen as the “big fish” in corruption.
Manila Water Co. is a subsidiary of the Ayala family’s Ayala Corp., while the Pangilinan-led MPIC owns a controlling stake in Maynilad Water Services.
During the program, Duterte was seen seated next to Pangilinan. However, he did not acknowledge the businessman at the beginning of his speech but recognized government officials in the event such as Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Central Bank Governor Benjamin Diokno, and Go.
The President though shook Pangilinan’s hand after his four-minute speech and engaged the businessman in a brief chat with Medialdea before stepping down the stage.
Maynilad Water and Manila Water supply water to Metro Manila and nearby provinces under a 25-year concession deal signed in 1997 during the Ramos administration, but Duterte last year ordered the government lawyers to craft new concession deals after labeling the current agreements with the two water firms as “onerous and disadvantageous” to Filipinos.
Duterte also threatened that the government would take over water distribution services if the water concessionaires refuse to accept the new water deal.