Malacañang denies appointment papers for Erwin Tulfo

Marje Pelayo   •   June 6, 2019   •   9239

Erwin Tulfo

MANILA, Philippines – Rumors are surfacing that Malacañang has released the appointment paper of Erwin Tulfo as the new Presidential Communications Secretary effective July 1.

Tulfo is said to be replacing Secretary Martin Andanar as the latter is being eyed for the position of Presidential Political Adviser in lieu of incoming senator Francis Tolentino.

In a text message, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said: “It’s not true.”

When asked what he referred to as “not true” – the appointment papers or Tulfo being considered for the position – the executive secretary said that is not for him to answer. – (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Duterte paving the way for allies into the water industry? Nonsense! – Malacañang

Marje Pelayo   •   December 12, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang vehemently denied alleged reason behind President Rodrigo Duterte’s rants against water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water.

Reports alleged that the Chief Executive is making a move to place his allies into the water industry.

“That’s nonsense. Si Presidente pa, walang ally-ally kay Presidente (That’s nonsense. Knowing the President, he doesn’t care for allies),” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

The President earlier warned to file charges of economic sabotage against the two firms and their cohorts who were behind what he calls as onerous water concession agreements.

Such was his reaction after the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore favored the water concessionaires against the government, ordering it to pay billions for not approving water rate increase under the previous administration.

The Palace scrutinized what seemed to be ‘unfair’ provisions of the water concession agreement including allegations that the government was giving the water concessionaires a cold shoulder and the intent to extend the agreement up to 2037 even prior to the contract’s expiration.

Malacañang opened the idea of a possible government take over only to ensure that water distribution service would not be cut in case none in the private sector intends to handle it.

“Initially government muna then most likely after that there will be biddings for a private company to take over,” Panelo said.

It was in 1997 when the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) signed water concession contracts with Manila Water Services Inc. and Maynilad.

It was a decision made after the government-owned facility delivered poor services and only a few investors were willing to invest their billions in improving the facility’s services which, Manila Water and Maynilad accepted through a bidding. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Palace says gov’t won’t pay damages to Manila Water, Maynilad

Robie de Guzman   •   December 5, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday insisted that the government will not pay any damages sought by the concessionaires, Maynilad and Manila Water, for the losses they incurred from the rejected petition for rate hikes.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the government will not comply with the arbitration court’s decisions as the concession agreements with Maynilad and Manila Water were onerous.

“Hindi, kasi nga onerous ang kontrata. Masyadong disadvantageous sa gobyerno,” Panelo said in an interview with radio station dzXL.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday threatened to file economic sabotage raps against the water concessionaires and other officials involved in the crafting of the deals following the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Singapore’s order to pay Manila Water P7.4 billion, and Maynilad P3.6 billion about two years ago as compensation for losses or damages.

The two water firms separately took the government to court after the MWSS rejected their respective petitions to raise water rates a few years ago. The firms cited its concession deal which prohibits the government from setting water rates, and pushes for indemnification for possible losses in the event of such government interference.

Instead of paying indemnity, Panelo said the president has ordered for the drafting of new water concession deals with provisions that are advantageous to the public.

The presidential spokesman also said that the chief executive has already directed the Department of Justice to file appropriate charges against those behind the contracts which were signed in 1997.

READ: Manila Water to work closely with gov’t for ‘acceptable scheme’ on arbitral award

“The President has also directed the filing of the appropriate criminal, civil and administrative charges against all those involved in the said agreements including the latter’s owners and legal counsels, as well as agents and lawyers of the government for economic sabotage,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Palace suspends gov’t work, classes in Metro Manila due to Tisoy

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang suspended work in government offices and classes in Metro Manila on Tuesday, Dec. 3 amid the continuing inclement weather brought about by Typhoon ‘Tisoy’ (international name: Kammuri).

Under Memorandum Circular No. 73 signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, the suspension of government work and classes in all levels was declared effective at 12 noon.

“Upon the recommendation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), and in view of the continuing inclement weather brought about by Typhoon Tisoy, work in government offices and classes in schools (public and private) at all levels in Metro Manila, are hereby suspended effective 12:00 noon today, 03 December 2019,” the memorandum read.

“However, those agencies whose functions involve the delivery of basic and health services, preparedness/response to disasters and calamities, and/or the performance of other vital services shall continue with their operations and render the necessary services,” it added.

Meanwhile, the suspension of work for private companies and offices will be left to be discretion of their management, the Palace said.

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