‘Have some conscience,’ Pernia tells Maynilad, Manila Water

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 11 2019 02:50 PM

A man fills a bottle with water at a refilling station in Manila. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA -- One of President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic managers urged water distributors on Wednesday to “have some conscience” as the government sought to “correct” their “super onerous” concession contracts.

The government’s concession agreements with Maynilad Water Services Inc and Manila Water Co have to be revised because these are “unconstitutional,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said.

“They should have some conscience naman na if the contract is onerous on government, it becomes onerous on the people because the water rates are pinapasa yun sa tao eh,” he told reporters in Malacañang.

(They should have some conscience that if the contract is onerous on government, it is onerous on people because the water rates are shouldered by the public)

The government has sought a renegotiation of the water concession deals after President Duterte said last week that the country was "milked by billions." A Singapore-based arbitration court ordered Manila to pay P10.8 billion in compensation to the two distributors over denied petitions for rate increases.

Manila Water and Maynilad had said that they would drop the compensation claims.

“The concession agreement is unconstitutional eh kasi essentially, the government is surrendering its power to regulate,” Pernia said.

“If contracts are defective, unconstitutional, they have to be revised,” he said.