MANILA -- Tycoons Manuel Pangilinan, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and Fernando Zobel de Ayala on Tuesday thanked President Rodrigo Duterte, after the chief executive apologized to them over "hurting words."
Pangilinan, chairman of Metro Pacific Investments Corp, which includes PLDT, Maynilad, Meralco and Metro Pacific Tollways said he was "fully committed to being a partner of government" in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I would like to thank the President for his remarks tonight, most especially for his sincerity and kindness," Pangilinan said on his verified Twitter account.
The Ayala brothers said in a joint statement that they were "grateful" for the President's gesture.
"We are committed to help the President tackle the many challenges he has to deal with and are confident that by working together, our country can overcome each challenge, save lives and gradually put the country back on a path of growth," they said.
Duterte's rants against Maynilad and Manila Water led the 2 firms to drop their multi-billion arbitration claim. The government is also renegotiating their contracts to supply water to the capital.
In an address to the nation late Monday, Duterte thanked businessmen for contributing to the pandemic response then apologized to Pangilinan and the Ayalas of Manila Water.
"Yung mga masakit kong salita, to the Ayalas and to, si Pangilinan, I apologize for the hurting words. If you can find it in your heart to forgive me because if you do not, if you do not want to forgive me, I will undercut you, I will go direct to God," Duterte said.
The Ayalas in February took in port magnate Enrique Razon as an investor in Manila Water. Razon secured a 51-percent voting stake.