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

Robie de Guzman   •   December 5, 2019   •   651

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 contradicts DOH; clarifies PH still in first wave

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 21, 2020

Malacañang on Thursday (May 21) clarified that the Philippines is still experiencing the first wave of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), contrary to the statement of Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III.

The Palace apologized for the confusion and worry brought by Duque’s statement and said there were varying interpretations of the data.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque insisted that the country is still in the first wave of the COVID-19 infection.

“Nagpapatuloy po ang first wave. Katunayan, nagpatuloy ito sa buwan ng Pebrero na may kaunti kasi na na-report at lumobo sa buwan ng March. Patuloy pong lumobo iyan hanggang sa buwan ng Mayo, kung saan nakikita natin ngayon na bumababa na (The first wave continues. In fact, it continued from February, with few reports, and ballooned in March. It continues to increase until May, where we can see there is a decline),” he said.

Roque also said Duque did not go through the protocol to inform President Rodrigo Duterte regarding the interpretation of the second wave.

READ: Duque: Philippines now on second wave of COVID-19 cases

However, the Palace official said the varying of opinions is not of importance and the government, including the public, should focus on how to prevent a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

“Ang importante maiwasan po ang pagbalik ng malawakang numero ng magkakasakit sa COVID-19. Nagkakaisa po ang gobyerno na gagawin ang lahat ng hakbang upang maiwasan ang second wave (What’s important is, we prevent another increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. The government is united in doing everything to prevent a second wave),” Roque said. –AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

MWSS, nagtakda na ng deadline sa pagbabayad ng water bill

Robie de Guzman   •   May 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Nagtakda na ng deadline ang Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) para sa pagbabayad ng water bills na halos tatlong buwang naipon dahil sa ipinatutupad na community quarantine.

Sa panayam ng UNTV program na Serbisyong Bayanihan ngayong Miyerkules, sinabi ni MWSS Chief Regulator Patrick Ty na mayroong hanggang Hulyo 31 para magbayad ng bill ang mga kumukonsumo ng 10 cubic meters pababa kada buwan.

Ang mga gumagamit naman ng tubig na mahigit sa 10 cubic meters kada buwan ay may palugit hanggang Agosto 31.

Pagpapauna ni Ty, asahan na ng mga consumer ang bahagyang pagtaas ng bill lalo’t panahon ngayon ng tag-init at marami ang nasa loob ng kani-kanilang mga tahanan kaya mataas ang konsumo sa tubig.

“Sana maintindihan natin, itong water bill na ito halos lahat sa mga consumer ay ito po yung water bill nila for March, April and May. During summer season din po ito, so mas mainit, mas madami ang consumption ng mga tao at alam natin since work from home halos lahat consumer,” aniya.

Nilinaw naman  ng opisyal na puwede namang utay-utayin ng mga consumer ang pagbabayad sa bill nila sa Manila Water at Maynilad.

Sinabi rin ni Ty na sa Hunyo 1 pa magsisimulang magbasa ng metro at maglalabas ng bill ang Maynilad at Manila Water.

Sa Agosto 1 naman sisimulan ng dalawang water concessionaires ang pamumutol sa serbisyo ng mga hindi makapagbabayad ng kanilang bill para sa mga kumu-konsumo ng 10 cubic meters pababa.

Setyembre 1 naman ang schedule ng service disconnection para sa mahigit 10 cubic meters ang konsumo bawat buwan.

Tiniyak naman ng MWSS na wala pa silang ipinatutupad na anumang adjustment sa singil ng tubig sa gitna ng umiiral na community quarantine.

“Importante sa atin na wala pong bills shock ayaw po natin na magulat ang ating mga consumers na bigla nalang lalaki ang kanilang water bill,” ani Ty. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Joan Nano)

DBM, pinahahanap ng dagdag na pondo para sa ikalawang bugso ng cash aid – Malakanyang

Robie de Guzman   •   May 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Inatasan na ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ang Department of Budget and Management (DB M) na humanap ng dagdag na pondo para sa pamamahagi ng ikalawang bugso ng government cash aid sa ilalim ng Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

Ayon kay Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, inutusan na ng pangulo si DBM Secretary Wendel Avisado na gumawa ng listahan ng mga ahensiyang maaaring pagkunan ng kinakailangang pondo para sa second tranche ng SAP.

Nasa 18 milyong mahihirap na pamilya sa bansa ang unang target na mabigyan ng ayuda sa ilalim ng government emergency subsidy program.

Aabot sa P205 milyon ang inilaang pondo para sa programa, batay sa nakasaad sa Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.

Ngunit matapos ang pamamahagi ng unang batch ng pinansiyal na ayuda, nadagdagan pa ng limang milyon ang bilang ng pamilya na humihingi ng tulong mula sa pamahalaan dahil sa matinding hirap na dinaranas sa gitna ng COVID-19 crisis.

Inaprubahan na ng pangulo ang dagdag na benepisyaryo ng programa kaya’t kailangan ngayon ng pamahalaan ng dagdag na pondo para tustusan ito.

“Inaatasan niya si DBM Secretary Wendel Avisado, suriin niya ang mga budgetary allocations ng line agencies. Tingnan kung magkano ang pwedeng ma-realign dahil nais niya sana kung pwedeng bigyan lahat ng 23 million families ng ayuda ng 2nd tranche din,” ani Roque.

Una nang inamin ng administrasyong Duterte na paubos na ang pondo ng pamahalaan para sa COVID-19 response at hindi pa tiyak kung saan kukunin ang perang ipang-aayuda sa mga labis na naapektuhan ng krisis.

Nanawagan na rin ang pangulo sa liderato ng Kongreso na tumulong sa paghahanap ng pondo para sa mga programa ng gobyerno. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

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