THE Division of Justice-led panel has began its negotiations with Manila Water for the revision of its present water concession settlement with the federal government.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra disclosed this to mediamen on Wednesday, however refused to offer additional particulars concerning the ongoing dialogue.
Guevarra, nonetheless, mentioned the federal government evaluate panel would sit down subsequent with Maynilad Water Companies Inc., additionally to debate proposed amendments to their present concession settlement.
“The evaluate panel is at the moment discussing the draft revised water concession settlement with Manila Water. We are going to sit down with Maynilad quickly thereafter,” Guevarra mentioned.
The Justice secretary wouldn’t say when the dialogue began and when it’s anticipated to be completed, however expressed optimism that the revised contracts could be amenable to all events.
“Sorry, no additional particulars right now. Suffice it to say that the revised water concession settlement is a good enchancment over the unique settlement, because it does away with the onerous provisions of the latter, with out making the concession much less economically viable,” Guevarra identified.
In November 2020, President Duterte gave the DOJ the go-ahead to take a seat down with the 2 water concessionaires—the Ayala-led Manila Water and Pangilinan-led Maynilad—for the proposed revision of their present contracts.
Guevarra earlier mentioned among the many provisions within the present concession agreements that must go is that mandating non-interference by the state within the rate-setting mechanism of the 2 water companies and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS); and its twin provision warranting indemnification for losses in case of such authorities interference.
Duterte ordered the DOJ to evaluate the concession agreements after discovering onerous provisions within the present contracts, and after the Everlasting Court docket of Arbitration (PCA) in Singapore issued a call saying the Philippine authorities ought to pay P7.4 billion to Manila Water and P3.4 billion to Maynilad for the losses they suffered from water charge hikes that weren’t enforced after the federal government stepped in. This ruling was primarily based on the “non-interference” clause within the concession contracts.
The President lambasted Manila Water and Maynilad and threatened to file a case of financial sabotage towards the 2 water companies as a result of “onerous” 1997 contracts with the federal government.
Final December, the drafting committee—with representatives from the Workplace of the President, Division of Finance, DOJ, Workplace of the Solicitor Normal and Workplace of the Authorities Company Counsel—got here up with a draft primarily based on the phrases permitted by the evaluate committee.
The draft was then forwarded to the related Cupboard secretaries and the evaluate committee for approval.