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For transparency, Duterte to publicly read water firms’ letters

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By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Duterte will read the letters of Maynilad and Manila Water before the public for “transparency,” Malacañang said on Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo confirmed that Duterte received the letters of the Pangilinan-led Maynilad and the Ayala-owned Manila Water last December 10.

The letters stated that the two companies will revisit the concession agreements for amendments or revisions of the onerous provisions, said Panelo.

The Manila Water, he added, would no longer pursue its P7.39 billion claim against the government and that it would defer the implementation of their supposed water charge increase.

“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,” according to him.

Panelo also said Duterte wanted to talk to the government lawyers involved in the deals to determine why they allowed the onerous provisions in the 1997 water concession agreements.

“The Filipino people have just been protected from paying a total amount of at least P10.8 billion, an obligation which has no legal basis, to private entities. These companies not only have inefficiently delivered water to the households but exacted unconscionable amounts from the taxpayers.

“Once again, the President exercising political will, coupled with his ability to ascertain inequities in contract law as well as his character to identify with the plight of the ordinary Filipinos, has protected their interest, in obedience to the constitutional command to serve and protect the people,” he added.

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