It’s over! Water concessionaires rescind arbitration awards, end legal actions vs gov’t
MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday said that water concessionaires have already waived the arbitral award and terminated all proceedings against the Philippine government.
Guevarra said the concessionaires had signed the waiver “simultaneously with the execution of the revised MWSS-Manila Water concession agreement.”
The DOJ chief said, “the revised concession agreement between the MWSS (Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System) and Maynilad Water Services Inc. contains essentially the same terms as those in the recently signed revised concession agreement between the MWSS and Manila Water Company.”
He said the onerous provisions, like the non-interference clause and charging corporate income tax to consumers, “have been removed (with) contingent liabilities of the government substantially reduced and a framework for better service to the public has been put in place.”
Earlier, Guevarra said the new agreement is “a lot more equitable” than the original one. The provisions of the new agreement were drafted by the government panel handling the review of the new water concession agreement composed of the DOJ, Office of the President (OP), Department of Finance (DOF), Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC), and Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Vivencio “Vince” Dizon.
At the same time, Guevarra said both Manila Water and Maynilad have agreed to a tariff freeze until Dec. 31, 2022.
President Duterte, in 2019 ordered the DOJ to review the concession agreements after discovering onerous provisions in the existing contracts, and after the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in Singapore issued a decision stating the Philippine government should pay P7.4 billion to Manila Water and P3.4 billion to Maynilad for the losses they suffered from an unenforced water rate hike.
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