MANILA – The military could take over the water distribution operations from Manila Water Company Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc. over the alleged onerous concession contracts.
President Rodrigo Duterte raised this warning in his latest tirade against the alleged “economic saboteurs, saying that he came up with the idea following a meeting with the Presidential Security Group (PSG).
“I was talking to the PSG, sinabi ko sa kanila huwag mo akong laruan na takot takutin ninyo ako, sige magsibat kami, bahala wala kayong tubig,” said Duterte. “I will order the Armed Forces to operate. Sige sundalo, take over kayo.”
Aside from that, President Duterte also threatened of warrantless arrest to the people he accused of committing economic sabotage due to the supposed onerous provisions in the concession agreements.
“‘Pag niloko mo ako, niloko mo ang Pilipino. I will suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corprus and I will arrest all of you. Gusto ko makita ang mga bilyonaryo na nakakulong,” Duterte said.
The Chief Executive has tasked Maynilad and Manila Water to talk to Administrator Emmanuel Salamat of industry regulator Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System.
“Talk to General Salamat. Mag-usap kayo diyan. Ako? I will just prepare the charges. ‘Pag hindi tayo nagkaintindihan dito, economic plunder,” he said.
Maynilad and Manila Water each wrote a formal letter to Duterte on Tuesday making an offer to renegotiate the provisions that prohibit any government interference in rate-setting and provide an indemnity clause in case of such interference.
Manila Water also said that it would no longer pursue its claims worth P7.39 billion against the government and that it would defer the implementation of their rate increase./PN