A review committee of the Department of Justice is now finalizing the government’s new concession agreement with Manila Water.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the water concession review committee will meet today (Wednesday) to iron out “minor points” in the proposed water deal.
“We already ironed out remaining major issues (in the proposed concession agreement) during that meeting (severam weeks ago),” Guevarra told reporters.
“We would have another meeting this coming Wednesday. So I suppose if there are remaining minor points, these will be ironed out during this meeting this Wednesday,” he added.
Guevarra said he expected the new concession agreement to be ready for signing with Manila Water.
“And after that, we will proceed to the discussions with the other concessionaire, Maynilad,” he said.
Upon the order of President Rodrigo Duterte, the DOJ has reviewed the 1997 concession agreements with Manila Water and Maynilad, who won separate multi-billion peso arbitration cases abroad.
The President found the concession agreement with Manila Water and Maynilad grossly disadvantageous to the government, particularly the provision that holds the government liable if it interferes with the implementation of water rates and accountable to indemnify the companies for losses incurred.
The two water concessionaires opted not to demand payment after Duterte’s tirades against them.
The President also threatened to arrest the owners of the water firms for alleged economic sabotage.
Guevarra assured that the proposed revised contracts would remove the “onerous” terms “without making the concession less economically viable.”
Manila Water provides water and wastewater services to the eastern part of Metro Manila, particularly the cities of Mandaluyong, San Juan, Pasig, Marikina, Taguig, the municipality of Pateros, and portions of Makati, Manila and Quezon City, as well as the province of Rizal.
Maynilad, on other hand, currently serves customers in the cities of Caloocan, Las Piñas, Makati, Malabon, Manila, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Parañaque, Pasay, Quezon, Valenzuela.
It also services certain areas in Cavite such as the cities of Bacoor, Cavite, and Imus, as well as the towns of Kawit, Noveleta, and Rosario.