MANILA, Philippines—Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday assured that all onerous provisions on agreements with water concessionaires will go to the trash bin.
“One thing is 100 percent sure, all the onerous provisions will go to the garbage bin in both new agreements,” Guevarra said.
Guevarra is hopeful that the new water deal will be concluded within the month.
He said members of the water concession agreement review committee met on Wednesday and worked out the final few remaining issues, which were mainly financial and commercial terms.
The review panel also included representatives from the Office of the President, the Department of Finance, the Office of the Solicitor General, the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, and Vince Dizon of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, in addition to the DOJ.
“The final draft will be presented to the Manila Water Company Inc. (MWCI) in the next few days. It is expected that the revised concession agreement will be signed within the month, barring any major disagreement,” he told reporters.
President Duterte directed the DOJ to review the concession agreements in 2019 after discovering onerous provisions in the existing contracts and after the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in Singapore issued a decision stating that the Philippine government should pay P7.4 billion to Manila Water and P3.4 billion to Maynilad for losses caused by an unenforced water rate hike.
Guevarra previously stated that non-interference in the rate-setting mechanisms of the two water firms and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), as well as its twin provisions on indemnification arising from such government interference, would be among the provisions in the existing concession agreements that would have to go.
Last November, the Justice Secretary presented to the President their proposed new water concession agreements which he describes as one that is fair and equitable.
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