No meeting set for review of water deals – DOJ

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    JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday said no meeting has yet been set with Maynilad and Manila Water to discuss the review on the controversial water concession agreement that has earned the ire of President Duterte for its supposed “onerous and disadvantageous” provisions.

    Guevarra said the matter will be discussed in the next Cabinet meeting to be held after the holiday season.

    “No schedule yet. This will be for discussion in the Cabinet in our next meeting in early January,” Guevarra said when sought for an update on the issue.

    Earlier, Guevarra said the DOJ has found a dozen onerous provisions in the agreement, particularly the prohibition against government interference in rate-setting and the provision on indemnity for possible losses in the event of such government interference.

    The DOJ review time likewise questioned the extension of the contracts to 2037, noting that the extension was granted long before the original expiration of the 25-year concession agreements in 2022.

    Guevarra had previously said the government will come up with its version of the water concession agreements with Maynilad and Manila Water, adding they have formed a team composed of lawyers from the DOJ, the Office of the Solicitor General, the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel and the Department of Finance to do the revisions.

    He added the team might be able to come up with an agreement before the end of this year.

    Guevarra clarified not all provisions in the concession agreements were found to be disadvantageous to the government and the public.

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