On the issue concerning the water concessionaires of Metro Manila

The water concessionaires of Metro Manila – Maynilad and Manila Water – were extensively discussed last night, January 6, at the Cabinet meeting.

The new water contracts to supplant the constitutionally flawed water concessionaires agreements that violated every prohibited act in the anti-graft law prepared by the Office of the Solicitor General and the Department of Justice were presented to the Cabinet.

Serving and protecting the interest of the Filipino people is the underlying principle that forms the basis of the President’s governance. All his acts since his assumption to the presidency were – and are – geared toward this end.

The President stressed that water is a God-given natural resource which can not be treated as a mere commercial commodity and exploited to rake in billions of pesos in profits at the expense of the Filipino people. As President, he can not keep a blind eye to this colossal rip off.

The Chief Executive is giving the water concessionaires the option of accepting the new contracts without any guarantee of not being criminally prosecuted together with those who conspired to craft the very onerous contracts which are void ab initio for violating the Constitution and the laws of the land.

Should Maynilad and Manila Water refuse to accept the new agreements, the Chief Executive will order the cancellation of their present water contracts, mandate the nationalization of water services in their respective areas of operation and prosecute all those involved, directly or indirectly, in the arrangement that led to the present suffering of the Filipino people.

The Filipinos have lost enormously with the unabated collections by these concessionaires despite the latter’s dismal performance in supplying, delivering and distributing water. As the President previously uttered in righteous indignation and outrage to them: “If you will not give justice to the Filipino people, I will get it for them.”

There is a time for reckoning. That time has come.

Salvador S. Panelo

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel

& Presidential Spokesperson

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