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Maynilad, MWSS ink revised water concession agreement

MAYNILAD WATER Services, Inc. has signed a new concession agreement with the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), which no longer includes “onerous provisions,” Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra said on Tuesday.

“MWSS has signed (the contract) and it has been transmitted to Maynilad,” Mr. Guevarra told reporters.

“The revised concession agreement between the MWSS and Maynilad contains essentially the same terms as those in the recently signed revised concession agreement between the MWSS and Manila Water Company, (Inc.).”

Maynilad Spokesperson Jennifer C. Rufo on Tuesday confirmed that the company has signed the revised contract, adding details will be disclosed on Wednesday.

Mr. Guevarra said the new deal removed “onerous provisions,” as claimed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, such as the non-interference clause and its ability to charge corporate income tax to consumers.

“Contingent liabilities of the government have been substantially reduced, and a framework for better service to the public has been put in place,” he added.

Maynilad also signed a waiver on Tuesday terminating all related proceedings to its 2017 arbitral award which directed the government to pay P3.4 billion to the company, Mr. Guevarra said.   

He said Manila Water also signed a waiver when the revised contract was finalized on March 31, terminating all proceedings related to its 2019 arbitral award which directed the government to pay the company P7.3 billion.

Signing the waivers means that the government will no longer pay for the compensation stated in the arbitral award, and that “the arbitral award cannot be enforced by execution or by any judicial process anywhere,” Mr. Guevarra said.

Mr. Guevarra also confirmed that Maynilad agreed to a tariff freeze until Dec. 31, 2022 to assist poor customers and aid the country’s economic recovery after the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which Manila Water also agreed to.

Metro Pacific Investments Corp., which has a majority stake in Maynilad, is one of three Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has an interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago

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