Manila Water open to compromise on P7.4B due from gov’t
In an attempt to pacify an angry President, Ayala-led Manila Water Co. Inc. said it was willing to compromise with the government over the decision of an international arbitration court on a dispute over water fees.
A Singapore arbitration panel had ordered the Philippine government to pay Ayala-led Manila Water P7.4 billion for losses and damages incurred for its refusal to implement rate hikes provided under the concession agreement
“We wish to reiterate that Manila Water is more than willing and have started to work with the incumbent administration to come up with a workable solution to the arbitration decision,” Manila Water said in a statement.
East zone concessionaire Manila Water issued the statement a day after Duterte lambasted the two water utility firms for what he called onerous concession agreements forged with the previous administration.
The concession agreement contains a procedure for the adjustment of water rates in accordance with the charter of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System.
Manila Water said its chairman and a few other senior officers sought guidance and met with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez with the goal of finding a mutually acceptable scheme to address the compensation award.
The Ayala-led firm reiterated that it has “diligently discharged its obligations as concessionaire of MWSS, spending over P166 billion to improve water and wastewater services.”
“We have installed over 5,500 kilometers of pipes and built 2 new filter plants, 32 new reservoirs, 113 pumping and booster stations, 40 additional wastewater treatment facilities and five times more sewer network capacity to improve the MWSS facilities in the East Zone,” Manila Water said.
Manila Water said water service coverage in the East Zone has expanded from 67% to 93%, covering over seven million people. This includes an additional two million customers from the poor and marginalized sector, who used to buy vended water in buckets or pails delivered by vendors in pushcarts.
The company also reduced water losses from 63% to less than 12%, saving 700 million liters per day of water.