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Gov’t meeting with Maynilad, Manila Water will be next year

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JUSTICE SECRETARY Menardo I. Guevarra said a date has yet to be set for the government’s meeting with the two Metro Manila water concessionaires regarding their contracts, and it will not be taking place before the end of the year. “For discussion pa muna uli sa (again at the) Cabinet sa next meeting in early January,” he told reporters in a message through Viber. Mr. Guevarra said a team has already been formed to draft the revised concession agreements with Maynilad Water Services, Inc. and Manila Water, Inc. The team is composed of lawyers from the Office of the Solicitor General, Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, Department of Finance, and Department of Justice. President Rodrigo R. Duterte has lashed at the two companies and ordered the revision due to alleged onerous provisions in the water distribution contracts, which were originally signed in 1987. Mr. Guevarra said the department found a “dozen provisions deemed onerous,” including the non-interference of the government in rate-setting and the government’s liability to the corporation in case they suffer losses. The Justice secretary also said the extension of their contracts until 2037 from the initial 2022 is irregular. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas

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