New water deal with Maynilad scraps onerous terms

The government and Maynilad Water Services, Inc. have finally agreed to sign a new concession agreement after both parties threshed out contentious issues, including a waiver by the water company to its P7.4 billion indemnification award rendered by the Singapore Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2019.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday said the government, through the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, has signed the new concession agreement that has been transmitted to Maynilad for signature.

“The revised concession agreement between the MWSS and Maynilad contains essentially the same terms as those in the recently signed revised concession agreement between the MWSS and Manila Water Company, Inc.,” Guevarra said.

As with Manila Water, the concession agreement with Maynilad is devoid of onerous and grossly disadvantageous provisions that existed in the previous water deal, the Justice secretary said.

“The onerous provisions (e.g., non-interference clause, charging corporate income tax to consumers, etc.) have been removed, contingent liabilities of the government have been substantially reduced, and a framework for better service to the public has been put in place,” Guevarra said,

With the issuance of the waiver, Guevarra said the arbitral award issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore “cannot be enforced by execution or by any judicial process anywhere.”

Manila Water Company, Inc. (MWCI) already signed its revised concession deal with the government on March 31.

Maynilad Water and Manila Water are the two water firms that have concessions in Metro Manila and the nearby provinces.

President Duterte himself pushed for the revision of the pre-existing water concession deals with the two companies as early as December 2019 after a DOJ panel of reviewers found numerous onerous provisions in the agreements.

Topics: Maynilad Water Services Inc , Menardo Guevarra , Department of Justice , Manila Water Company Inc
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