Duterte willing to have new contracts with Maynilad, Manila Water but they have to make amends
President Rodrigo Duterte said that he would review the proposed government contracts for the two water concessionaires in Metro Manila and nearby areas.
Duterte said he would agree to the contracts provided that the Ayala-owned Manila Water Company, Inc. and Manuel V. Pangilinan-led Maynilad Water Services, Inc. would give back to the people their money, which the two firms allegedly illegally collected, even on installment basis.
"I think that the papers are here with me now. I will review the contracts that are proposed by the government panel to the Ayala and the Pangilinan consortium," he said.
"It's okay with me for as long as the people could get back their money even in installment... you have to make some amends," Duterte added.
Duterte earlier threatened to file charges against the officials of the two water concessionaires as their contracts with the government were allegedly onerous and disadvantageous to the government and the public.
He had also warned of dismissing the contracts with them.
But recently, Duterte apologized to the businessmen, including the Ayalas and Pangilinan, and thanked them for their help in the government's efforts to address the problems related to coronavirus disease pandemic.
"I was appeased because whether I like it or not, water is very important in our lives. So, it's okay with me but what were taken to the people, that has to be paid back, whether in installments over a period of years, but you have to return the money to the people," he said.
"You can have your contracts if it is to your liking...I'm willing to forget it. Just give us the contract that is fair and also a fair of return of the money of the people," he said.
But he said if the water companies would not agree, the government could pursue the case.
"You can have your contracts if it is to your liking. But if it's not, then we proceed with another phase which is really filing of the cases," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS