Water deal issue still in Duterte’s check list


    PRESIDENT Duterte on Tuesday night said he is still willing to meet with top executives of private water concessionaires but he wants the meetings done in public.

    The President, during the 2020 General Assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP), reiterated the meeting will not guarantee that none of the private firm owners will be charged over the supposed onerous provisions in their concession contracts with the government.

    Duterte made the remark as he urged the public not to forget the issue on the disadvantageous water agreements and not to allow those responsible to go unpunished.

    “Kaya ito, huwag ninyong bitawan (Do not let go of this) All the violations that you can think of or all the violations that you would ever know is there,” he said.

    The President had claimed that the 1997 agreements signed by the government with the Manila Water and Maynilad contained onerous and disadvantageous provisions that resulted in the passing of taxes to consumers, collection of non-existent water treatment facility fees, and the questionable charging of government for the delays in the implementation of water rate increases.

    Duterte said Maynilad and Manila Water executives would have remained mum on the existence of the onerous provisions had he not exposed the details of the contracts.

    “Kita mo one after the other, sunod-sunod sila nag-apologize. Front page, pirmado, Ayala, Pangilinan, lahat. Sa mga milyonaryong ito, mautusan mo kaya mag-sorry sa iyo? (One after the other, they apologized. Front page, signed. Ayala, Pangilinan, everyone. These millionaires, could you have ordered them to say sorry?),” he said referring to Maynilad head Manuel V. Pangilinan and Manila Water chairman Fernando Zobel de Ayala.

    “Sabi ko, mag-areglo tayo (I told them, let us settle the issue). Well, of course, I can, I can talk to you. But it must be in public. But then I cannot assure you that you will not be prosecuted for graft and corruption or plunder. It’s worth millions),” he added.

    The President, during the event, also questioned the supposed silence of Congress and his critics over the alleged onerous contracts, noting the absence of congressional inquiries and the silence of his detractors.

    “Billions sobra. Ayan, nakita mo tahimik ang mga p***** i**. Wala na. Congress, tahimik. Wala. Walang naghingi ng investigation. Kaya ang pakiusap ko is if I do not reach the finish line for one reason or another, kindly do not forget this (This involves more than billions. Do you see, the son of b****** are silent. None. Congress, silent. No one is asking for an investigation. That’s why my appeal is, if I do not reach the finish line for one reason or another, kindly do not forget this),” Duterte said.