The Office of the President confirms that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte received the letters dated December 10, 2019 of Maynilad and of Manila Water, as signed by Mr. Manuel V. Pangilinan and Mr. Fernando Zobel de Ayala, respectively.
The separate letters of Maynilad and Manila Water basically state that they are heeding the call of the President and are willing to revisit the concession agreements for amendments or revisions of the provisions which are onerous to the government and ultimately, their consumers. Further, the letter of Manila Water states that it will no longer pursue its claims in the amount of PhP7.39 billion against the government and that it will defer the implementation of their supposed water charge increase.
Meanwhile, the Office of the President notes that Maynilad President and Chief Executive Officer Ramoncito Fernandez also said in a legislative hearing that they will no longer pursue its arbitral award in 2017 in the amount of PhP3.4 billion against the government.
The Chief Executive will read the letters of Maynilad and Manila Water before the public for transparency and to show that all the steps being undertaken by the government in resolving this issue with the two Metro Manila water concessionaires are aboveboard and legitimate.
The President will evaluate this development, as well as study the practical and legal consequences of the situation, before making any decision on what measure to undertake next. PRRD wants to speak first with all the lawyers involved in the preparation, negotiation and drafting of the present concession agreements and determine the reason why they allowed the incorporation of onerous provisions.
The Filipino people have just been protected from paying a total amount of at least PhP10.8 billion, an obligation which has no legal basis, to private entities. These companies not only have inefficiently delivered water to the households but exacted unconscionable amounts from the taxpayers.
Once again, the President exercising political will, coupled with his ability to ascertain inequities in contract law as well as his character to identify with the plight of the ordinary Filipinos, has protected their interest, in obedience to the constitutional command to serve and protect the people.
Salvador S. Panelo
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel
& Presidential Spokesperson