THE PROPOSED franchises to be granted to the two water companies serving the National Capital Region will not cap the concession-holders’ returns at 12%, in contrast to their recently-signed revised water agreements with the government, a senior legislator said Wednesday.

“These bills as they currently stand contain no mention of this cap and may provide the concessionaires a means to earn more than that set by law and the Revised Concession Agreement,” Deputy Speaker Bernadette Herrera-Dy said in a statement.

She added that the prospective franchise holders must “prove” themselves to be “worthy,” after the bills regulating their proposed franchises were approved on second reading May 25. 

Ms. Herrera-Dy said Manila Water Co., Inc. and Maynilad Water Services, Inc., “must prove themselves worthy of a franchise as a public utility, answerable not to Congress but to the Filipino people.” 

She said the companies must meet the standards for public utilities, calling their services critical for the public.

“We must ensure that these franchises respect and retain these numerous safeguards of the Revised Concession Agreement and in fact I urge that these safeguards be implemented in future franchise agreements or renewals of water public utilities,” Ms. Herrera-Dy said.

“Should these concessionaires not win (franchises), then a company truly deserving of a franchise shall be issued one by Congress,” she added.

Manila Water and Maynilad signed their revised water concession contract with the government with the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System on March 31, 2021 and May 18, 2021, respectively. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago