Maynilad on revoked extension of deal: 'Very grave concern'
MANILA, Philippines – Maynilad Water Services and Manila Water denounced the scrapping of the resolution extending their concession agreement with the government, a move that means the deal will end in 2022.
Maynilad president Ramoncito Fernandez and former Manila Water president Tony Aquino found out about the cancellation only on Wednesday morning, December 11, the same day the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) told the news to lawmakers.
"For Maynilad, ngayong umaga lang po. One hour or plus ago lang ho namin tinagggap 'yung board resolution na 'yun," Fernandez told the House committee on good government and public accountability, and committee on public accounts.
(For Maynilad, we only found out about it this morning. We received the board resolution about an hour or plus ago.)
"But we would like to react that it is with very grave concern that we view this action. And we believe also that it's not proper to unilaterally revoke the agreement," added the Maynilad president.
House Senior Deputy Majority Leader Jesus Crispin Remulla, vice chair of the good government and public accountability panel, then asked if Manila Water shared the same sentiments.
Aquino replied in the affirmative, saying the water company based its ongoing spending plan on the MWSS board resolution that moved the expiration of their concession agreement from 2022 to 2037. (READ: Public interest, public hands: How Manila Water, Maynilad got the deal)
"Tama po 'yun. Kasi po magmula po noong magkaroon ng original extension no'ng 2009 and base po doon nga po sa approval, ay ginawa na po namin 'yung spending plan that presumes na mababawi po ang lahat ng investment natin for that extended period of time," Aquino said.
(That's right. Ever since the original extension was granted in 2009, we based on that approval our spending plan which presumes there would be return of investment during that extended period of time.)
The MWSS' concession agreement with Maynilad and Manila Water was initially supposed to expire in 2022. But the contract was extended to 2037 during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2009.
More than a decade later, MWSS Deputy Administrator for Engineering Leonor Cleofas said the board members decided to revoke the extension upon the "directive" of President Rodrigo Duterte and his Cabinet.
The President then threatened the Ayala family, which counts Manila Water as a subsidiary of their Ayala Corporation, as well as tycoon Manny Pangilinan, whose Metro Pacific Investments Corporation owns a controlling stake in Maynilad.
This prompted both water concessionaires to waive the results of the arbitral rulings and no longer demand payment from the government.
Cleofas, however, also said the MWSS alone cannot handle the country's water utilities as it has very few employees. – Rappler.com