JUSTICE SECRETARY Menardo I. Guevarra said the government panel reviewing the water concession contracts is waiting for Maynilad Water Services, Inc. to indicate its acceptance of the contract terms signed by Manila Water Co., Inc. last month.
In a mobile message Monday, Mr. Guevarra said “a copy of the revised (concessionaire agreement) with Manila Water has been sent to Maynilad.”
“The government review panel is now awaiting Maynilad’s response as to whether the same agreement is acceptable to its principals,” he added.
Mr. Guevarra said there is no deadline for Maynilad to respond, “but we are sure that this is top priority for Maynilad.”
Maynilad Spokesperson Jennifer C. Rufo confirmed in a mobile message that Maynilad has received the copy of the revised contract signed by Manila Water.
“We appreciate and support the objectives that (the) government has expressed in amending the contract,” she said.
However, Ms. Rufo added that it is unlikely for Maynilad to have exactly the same agreement with that of Manila Water, “because Maynilad is differently situated compared to Manila Water.”
Maynilad is the water provider of 17 cities and municipalities in the West Zone of the Metropolitan Manila area, while Manila Water services 23 cities and municipalities in the East Zone.
Ms. Rufo said she has no specific details on Maynilad’s talks with the government, but confirmed that “formal communications have commenced, and we are eager to conclude the talks at the soonest possible time.”
Some of the notable changes in the revised agreement with Manila Water are that corporate income tax cannot be passed on to customers, foreign currency differential adjustments will no longer be implemented, and caps or limits will be imposed on increases in standard rates for water and wastewater.
Manila Water also agreed to a tariff freeze until Dec. 31, 2022 to assist poor customers and aid the economic recovery after the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago