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Palace on reported water rate hikes: Let them do their worst

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By Prince Golez

Water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water can do their worst but President Rodrigo Duterte will continue to protect the interest of the Filipino people, Malacañang said.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued the remark after the two water companies have threatened to raise water rates by “more than 100 percent” following the decision of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System to revoke the extension of their concession agreements.

“We recall that they offered not to implement the approved new water rates, among others, after the President publicly denounced the onerous provisions of the said contracts,” said Panelo.

He also noted that Maynilad and Manila Water each wrote a formal letter to Duterte making an offer to talk about the issue and renegotiate the onerous provisions of the contracts.

“There has been no acceptance by the President of their offer nor has he declined it. The subject is still under review by the President,” Duterte’s legal counsel said.

“All legal options are open to him. It must be remembered that the President is a lawyer and a public prosecutor for many years hence knowledgeable on the provisions of the anti-graft law. An examination of the latter reveals that the contracts are on all fours with it. Stated differently, the agreements violate every prohibited act of the law,” he added.

Panelo reminded the concessionaires that Duterte will not renege from his constitutional duty of enforcing the law.

“Neither will he be swayed nor enticed into accepting a compromise. Dura lex sed lex. Water is a natural resource and access to it by the people is a basic human right, and constitutionally protected as well. Any measure therefore in derogation of this right requires government intervention,” according to him.

 

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