President Rodrigo Duterte has given the thumbs to up to bilyonaryo Ricky Razon’s buy-in into the Ayala-led Manila Water Co. But Duterte said this would not stop him from revising the 1997 water contract of Manila Water which he had described as littered with onerous provisions.
How can I now proceed with a new contract acceptable to them with the entry of new businessmen? Okay ‘yan. Paano ‘yung ginawa ninyo? It is a contract infused with the entry of new businessmen. It is the same contract that is really a copy of the Anti-Graft Law,” said Duterte in a speech.
Duterte was reacting to Razon’s deal with the Ayalas to buy a a 25 percent stake in Manila Water for P10.7 billion.
Previously, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Duterte would continue to insist on Manila Water taking in a revised contract to replace its 25-year deal which would end in 2022.
“Parang enter at your own risk ‘yun eh, ‘di ba? Kasi binili niya ‘yung mga stocks—binibili mo ‘yang stocks, pumapasok na siya dito sa Manila Water, pero ang message lang naman ng administration is that: Okay pero your own risk ‘yan kasi tuloy-tuloy pa rin ‘yung inutos ni Pangulo,” said Nograles.
“Right now, nire-review ‘yung contract at magkakaroon ng panibagong stipulations doon sa contract na ibibigay dito sa Manila Water, na ‘yung dating kontrata na ginawa ninyo ay onerous at disadvantageous sa Filipino public kaya hindi puwedeng magpatuloy ang ganitong klaseng kontrata. Ang puwede nating gawin ay gumawa ng bagong kontrata na hindi naman dehado ang taumbayan,” he added.
Manila Water has already agreed to waive its collection of P7 billion debt from the government and has agreed to review the onerous provisions cited by Duterte in the deal.