MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte will publicly read letters sent to him by water distributors Maynilad and Manila Water on their concession deals with the government for “transparency,” his spokesman said Wednesday.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the letters sent by the 2 water distributors state their adherence to the President’s call to renegotiate the concession agreements.
“The Chief Executive will read the letters of Maynilad and Manila Water before the public for transparency and to show that all the steps being undertaken by the government in resolving this issue with the two Metro Manila water concessionaires are aboveboard and legitimate,” Panelo said.
Panelo, however, did not say when Duterte would read the letters to the public.
The letters, signed by tycoons Manny Pangilinan for Maynilad, and Fernando Zobel de Ayala for Manila Water, were received by the President on Tuesday.
Last week, Duterte lamented that the country was "milked by billions" following a court order for the government to pay billions in fines and penalties to the water distributors.
Both Maynilad and Manila Water, however, decided to drop their compensation claims to pave the way for a discussion with the government on their concession deals.
“The President will evaluate this development, as well as study the practical and legal consequences of the situation, before making any decision on what measure to undertake next,” Panelo said.
Before deciding on his next move, Panelo said Duterte wanted to speak first with lawyers involved in the crafting of the "onerous" contracts.
The government’s concession contracts with the Ayala-owned Manila Water and the now Pangilinan-led Maynilad were originally signed in 1997 during the administration of former President Fidel Ramos.
While the agreements were set to expire 2022, the government, in 2009, extended it for another 15 years or until 2037. This was done during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, an ally of President Duterte.