Di yan Onerous ha! FVR: Maintains that contract with Maynilad, Manila Water ‘most favorable’ to gov’t'

Former President Fidel V. Ramos photo courtesy of abs-cbn

Former President Fidel V. Ramos has upheld the fairness of the contract signed during his administration with Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Co. Inc., which President Rodrigo Duterte called “onerous.”
Ramos also wrote a letter to President Duterte explaining what prompted his administration to privatize water distribution in Metro Manila as reported on the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Saturday (December 13).

The former President said the concession agreement was crafted out of the need to solve the “water crisis” which crippled Metro Manila in 1997 in his letter dated December 4.

Ramos affirmed that his administration had put first the public interest when it negotiated the contracts with these private sectors.

“The MWSS (Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System) concession agreement, as with all projects and agreements entered into by the government during my administration, was anchored on complete staff work, review and consultation with various government agencies, organizations and the concerned public, which resulted in complete transparency all the while negotiating terms most favorable to the government,” Ramos said.

The privatization transferred the responsibility of distributing water from MWSS to the Ayala-owned Manila Water for the east zone, and the Lopez group’s Maynilad for the west zone. The Metro Pacific Investments Corporation owned by Indonesian oligarch Anthoni Salim took over Maynilad in 2008.

The MWSS had to give up its function of distributing water because at that time it could not provide water to consumers in the entire Metro Manila. It had also been troubled by water pilferage and system losses of more than 50 percent.

Ramos said his administration guaranteed that the contracts between the government and private companies to invest in water distribution will honor and respect the contracts set by the government.

“To achieve all this, the private sector mobilized funding from both foreign and local sources depending on the word of the Philippine government that the essential conditions of adherence to the sanctity of contracts and rule of law must be observed,” Ramos added.

“These are the pillars that hold together any agreement, be it between governments and/or the government and the private sector. Our word must be our bond.” the former President said.

Duterte has been attacking Maynilad and Manila Water over the supposed one-sided and erroneous concession agreement.

The President promised that the government will not pay the nearly P11-billion arbitral awards they won from a Singapore court.

And even threatened to revoke the “onerous” water supply deals signed with the Philippines’ two biggest water utilities in 1997 and file charges against the people behind it once proven.

President Duterte was so furious with the said onerous contract that let the Filipino consumers bled dry by these two concessionaires and will prepare charges if understanding has not been reached.

As a result to Dutertes order,  MWSS recently revoked the extension of the water concessionaires’ contract until 2037. The agreement is set to expire in 2022.

Source: Politiko

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