MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte slammed Tuesday an international court order requiring government to pay water concessionaires billions in fines as he claimed that Filipinos were being "milked by billions."
A visibly irate Duterte argued that the government's contract with Pangilinan-owned Maynilad and Ayala-led Manila Water was unfair to begin with, as he explained that the concessionaires treated water "not as a natural resource but as a commodity."
"We are being milked by billions and pinapabayad pa tayo ng mga (we are asked to pay) fines and penalties," he said in a speech in Malacañang.
"Ang kontrata napakatagilid na tagilid because if they fail to realize the profit during the lifetime of the contract or at any period babayad tayo sa nalugi nila. Anak ng… P***** i** naman ninyo kung ganun," he added.
(The contract is really lopsided because if they fail to realize the profit during the lifetime of the contract or at any period, we will shoulder their losses.)
The Singapore-based Permanent Court of Arbitration earlier ordered government to pay P3.4 billion to Maynilad and P7.4 billion to Manila Water as compensation for losses the water concessionaires incurred due to denied rate increases.
Maynilad Chairman Manuel Pangilinan earlier said his firm is "more than willing" to drop arbitration proceedings with government as long as there is a "way forward" on tariffs.
Manila Water, for its part, said that it would work with the government "for an orderly and managed satisfaction of the award."
Following the court rulings, Duterte said he has asked the Department of Finance and the government's top lawyer to craft a new contract on water distribution that is "really favorable to the public."
"Bigay mo sa kanila (give it to them). 'This is the amended contract. Accept it or nothing to it'," Duterte said.
Angered by the required payment, the President said he would "expose" people who benefited from the supposedly lopsided water distribution contract.
"I-expose ko talaga ‘yung mga mayaman na nakikinabang sa bayan na libre," he said.
(I will expose rich people who benefit from the country for free.)
"Hihilahin ko sila, kung ako titirahin nila but I will make their life from hereon very, very, very miserable," he said.
(I will bring them down. They can hit me but I will make their life from hereon very, very, very miserable.)
Duterte even slammed the Ayalas for supposedly cheating the government of its dues.
"They do not pay corporate income tax. Ang corporate income tax hinuhulog nila sa tao," he said.
"Patingin ko sa mga Pilipino kung paano manampal ng mga milyonaryo, bilyonaryo. Le**e kayo... Inano ninyo ang Pilipino e," he added.
(I will show the Filipinos how to slap millionaires and billionaires.)