Duterte willing to have public meeting with execs of 2 water firms
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is willing to meet and talk with the two Metro Manila water concessionaires to settle the dispute over allegedly onerous water contracts, but he said it has to be in public.
Duterte again railed against Manila Water Co., a subsidiary of the Ayala family’s Ayala Corp., and the Manny Pangilinan-led Maynilad Water Services over the disadvantageous water deal in his speech at the 2020 General Assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines on Tuesday night.
“Sinabi ko sa kanila: Hoy, put****** ninyo. Ang dokumento ninyo, pati ang Anti-Graft Law, halos isang libro nalang’,” Duterte said.
[I told them: Hey, you sons of bitches. You documents, including the Anti-Graft Law, would take up almost an entire book.]
“All the violations that you can think of or all the violations that you would ever know is there,” he added.
He went on to say that he was open to sitting down with the businessmen to settle the issue, but he said that he could not guarantee that the government would not prosecute them for supposedly “milking” Filipinos of millions of pesos.
“I said: Let’s talk about it. Of course, I can — I can talk to you. But it must be in public,” Duterte said. “But then I cannot assure you that you will not be prosecuted for graft and corruption or plunder. Millions [of pesos are involved].”
The two firms supply water to Metro Manila and nearby provinces under 25-year concession deals signed in 1997 during the Ramos administration. But last year, Duterte ordered the government lawyers to craft new concession deals after labeling the current agreements as “onerous and disadvantageous” to Filipinos.
Duterte also threatened to let the government take over water distribution services if the concessionaires would refuse to accept the new water deals.
Duterte and Pangilinan crossed paths in an event last week where the President supposedly set a meeting with the tycoon “soon.”