House panel approves Maynilad, Manila Water franchises | Inquirer News
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House panel approves Maynilad, Manila Water franchises

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 04:37 AM May 25, 2021
OFF THE METER Maynilad’s modified concession deal with the government drops the mechanism that allowed water utilities to pass on their corporate income tax obligations to consumers.

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The House legislative franchises committee approved on Monday the franchises of the country’s two biggest water concessionaires—Maynilad Water Services and Manila Water Co.

The committee approved on its first hearing House Bill No. 9367 filed by Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. and House Bill No. 9313 filed by Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., both seeking a 25-year franchise for Maynilad and Manila Water.

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Under the two bills approved by the panel, Manila Water will retain its services in the east zone service area of Metro Manila, including the province of Rizal while Maynilad will keep its services in the west zone.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said the committee approved the bills by a vote of 23-2 for Manila Water and 19-2 for Maynilad.

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Zarate, who was present during the hearing, said he opposed the “swift grant” of franchises to the two water concessionaires.

“This happened even when the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System-Corporate Office had raised issues on the bills, and the amendments being proposed by the sponsors have yet to be fully discussed,” Zarate said in a statement.

He said representatives from the Office of the President should have been invited to discuss the implications of the revised concessionaire agreements between the government and the two water concessionaires.

“We have yet to fully scrutinize the texts and annexes of the new deals and if they are detrimental to Filipino consumers,” he said, noting the absence of representatives from the Department of Finance, Department of Justice and the Government Corporate Counsel who negotiated the new water deals.

The government signed a new water deal with Manila Water in March this year and with Maynilad this month.

Under the new deals, the two water concessionaires were recognized as public utilities, thus the need for a franchise. INQ

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TAGS: Manila Water franchise, Maynilad franchise
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