Ayala-led water concessionaire Manila Water Co. Inc. said it met with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to come up with a “mutually acceptable” manner in addressing its right to indemnification following its recent arbitration results.
“We informed him that we are willing to come up with a mutually acceptable manner of implementation of the arbitral award considering that this case was filed due to a violation incurred not during this administration. Secretary Dominguez acknowledged our proposal to work very closely with his office to find a mutually acceptable scheme to address the award,” the company said in a statement.
According to Manila Water, the meeting occurred even before the results of the arbitration were publicized.
Last week, the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in Singapore sided with Manila Water against the Philippine government, which it ordered to pay the company P7.39 billion representing actual losses Manila Water suffered from June 1, 2015, until November 22, 2019.
The PCA also ordered the government to pay 100 percent of the amount paid by Manila Water to the court and 85 percent of other claimed costs.
The arbitration started in 2015. Manila Water brought the issue to the PCA when the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) denied its planned rate hike.
MWSS also stopped the company from recovering corporate income tax saying this is not recoverable since Manila Water is a public utility, and effectively caused a P2.77 per cubic meter drop in the water rates.
Meanwhile, amid the recent pronouncements of President Duterte that he plans to take back the water concession contracts of Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water for allegedly being onerous, Dominguez said a team will be formed to handle this.
“My understanding is that the government’s legal team (Department of Justice with the support of the Office of the Solicitor General) will craft the action plan to address this issue,” Dominguez told reporters in a text message.
The two water concessionaires have yet to comment on the government’s recent statements.