Manila Water, Maynilad drop P10.8-B compensation claims, rate hikes

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 10 2019 02:46 PM | Updated as of Dec 10 2019 11:02 PM

MANILA - (UPDATE) Manila Water and Maynilad said Tuesday they would no longer ask the government to pay a total of P10.8 billion in compensation awarded to them by a Singapore-based court.

The heads of the two firms also told a Congressional hearing on Tuesday that they were ready to work with the government on possible revisions to their concession agreements. 

"Tumutugon kami sa utos ng Pangulong Rodrigo Roa Duterte na muling pag-aralan at pag-usapan ang ilang mga probisyon ng concession agreement," said Manila Water president Jose Rene Almendras.

(We are responding to the order of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to revisit and discuss some provisions in the concession agreement.) 

The Singapore-based Permanent Court of Arbitration earlier ordered government to pay P3.4 billion to Maynilad and P7.4 billion to Manila Water as compensation for losses the water concessionaires incurred due to denied rate increases.

Almendras was asked if the Manila Water would drop the P7.4 billion it was awarded, to which he replied: "Opo sir, susunod po kami sa kagustuhan ng gobyerno, ng pamahalaan at gobyerno (Yes we will follow the government)." 

Ramoncito Fernandez, president and CEO Maynilad, also said that it would no longer pursue the P3.4 billion award. 

"Ang arbitral award 2017 pa po. After we followed up the government, nung di kami binibigyan ng pansin, di na kami nagpursige," Fernandez said. 

(The arbitral award was given in 2017. After we followed up the government, when we were ignored, we no longer pursued it.)

Fernandez added that Maynilad would follow the President's directive and would no longer pursue the arbitral award. 

Almendras and Fernandez also said that they would no longer implement the rate hikes scheduled for January 2020. 

Earlier Tuesday, Department of Justice spokesman Markk Perete said the government would "renegotiate" with the distributors a provision in their concession that bars the government from interfering in water rates.

Perete said the government would "resist" paying the total P10.8 billion in compensation.

- With a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News