MWSS Administrator Emmanuel B. Salamat
In recent weeks, there have been significant events and developments concerning the actions of MWSS, through its Board of Trustees, as well as various official pronouncements by the President and other government agencies and officials, regarding the Concession Agreements with Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (MWSI) and Manila Water Services, Inc. (MWCI). In turn, the significance and speed of these events, as extensively covered by media, have resulted in numerous, and at times, inaccurate speculations. It is in this context that the MWSS respectfully issues this statement in order to clarify the situation and address the uncertainties over the concession agreements.
At the very outset, it is categorically clarified that the 25-year Concession Agreements (1997-2022) with Maynilad and MWCI are still valid and subsisting contracts. MWSS Board Resolution No. 2019-201-CO dated 9 December 2019, only revoked the previous Board Resolution No. 2009-72 dated 16 April 2009 involving the extension period from 2022 to 2037 of Manila Water Company and Board Resolution No. 2009-180 dated 10 September 2009 involving the extension of concession period from 2022 to 2037 of Maynilad Water Services, Inc. This action of the Board did not result in the rescission or outright cancellation of the said contracts, which requires a separate and distinct act to be legally effective. As such, the government through the MWSS is giving the two Concessionaires the opportunity to renegotiate and agree on the new terms of the Concession Agreement.
In addition, and consistent with the clarificatory pronouncements made by the Government, MWSS has been expressly directed to renegotiate the Concession Agreements with Manila Water and Maynilad in order to remove the illegal and onerous provisions of the same as determined by the Department of Justice, as well as to include such other provisions that are beneficial to the consumers and the entire nation.
Through this Statement, MWSS also acknowledges the cooperation showed by both concessionaires not only in expressly declaring that they would no longer collect or enforce the recent arbitral awards but also in their expressed willingness to renegotiate the inequitable provisions of the Concession Agreement. In view thereof, MWSS and the Concessionaires will exert all necessary efforts to comply with the directive of the President to execute a new water concession agreement after 2022 which is currently being drafted by the Department of Justice
MWSS is fully engaged in continuing to ensure the performance of its mandates under Republic Act No. 6234, as well as to achieve the purpose for, and the intention behind, the directives of the President. It is committed to materially contribute to the satisfactory resolution of the various issues for all the stakeholders.
The continuity of the water sector PPP depends on strong communication channels and handholding engagement so that the basic access to water and wastewater services will not be jeopardized, which includes fully addressing and accomplishing the urgent call for new water and sewerage infrastructure projects.