Solon wants review of gov’t negotiation pact with Maynilad, Manila Water
MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker in the House of Representatives is seeking for a “legislative review” of the ongoing negotiations between the government and water concessionaires Maynilad Inc. and Manila Water Inc. regarding the amended concession agreements.
House Resolution No. 1664 filed by Deputy Speaker Bernadette Herrera urges the committees on government enterprises and privatization as well as the committee on good government and public accountability to conduct the said legislative review.
According to Herrera, the public has the right to know if there are changes introduced to the amended concession pacts with the water concessionaires.
“In the interest of ensuring the best services for the Filipino people, and to further avoid any onerous contractual situations with the concessionaires, further consultation and good governance oversight must be conducted prior to the approval and signing of the new drafts,” Herrera said in the resolution filed last week, a copy of which was sent to the media on Tuesday, March 23.
To recall, in 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review the concession agreements because of the onerous provisions that are disadvantageous to the government and the public.
The DOJ then presented its recommendation on the terms and conditions for water concessionaires in November 2020, which Duterte approved “in principle.”
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier stated that non-interference in the rate-setting mechanisms of the two water firms and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), as well as its twin provisions on indemnification arising from such government interference, are among the provisions in the existing concession agreements that have to go.
On March 18 this year, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that the revised concession agreement will be presented to the water companies and is expected to be signed “within the month, barring any major disagreement.”
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