Gov’t, Maynilad meeting for new water deal ‘smooth’—Guevarra

No major contentions emerged between the government review panel and Maynilad Water Services when they met on Tuesday to negotiate the new water concession agreement, according to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

Guevarra said the meeting between the government and Maynilad went “smooth and easy.”

“Except for a few matters pertaining to Maynilad business plan, JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) loans, and public listing of shares, the parties are in agreement on the rest of the proposed new concession agreement with Maynilad, which takes off from a similar concession agreement with Manila Water,” the Department of Justice chief said in a text message to reporters.

He stressed that both parties are expected to iron out kinks in their negotiations before the current concession agreement with Maynilad expires next year.

Last March, the government through the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and Manila Water Services Inc. signed a new concession agreement which is expected to pave the way for “better overall service and more reasonable charges to consumers.”

Guevarra had assured that certain provisions that are in the revised concession agreement with Manila Water would certainly be also part of the agreement with Maynilad.

These “non-negotiable” provisions included the removal of the non-interference clause, the non-chargeability of corporate income tax to consumers’ water bills, no government guarantees for future debts,

Commission on Audit, and a more transparent governance mechanism. President Duterte pushed for the signing of new water concession agreements MWCI and MWS after discovering onerous provisions in the existing contracts, and after the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)

in Singapore issued a decision stating the Philippine government should pay P7.4 billion to Manila Water and P3.4 billion to Maynilad for the losses they suffered from unenforced water rate hike.

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