Vice President Leni Robredo, in her radio program, asked the government to have a calmer approach on dealing with the alleged “onerous” deals signed by the government and water companies in 1997.
According to Robredo, the approach of the government against Manila Water and Maynilad might involve, not only them but also consumers who avail the services of the said concessionaires.
“Kapag hindi natin dinaan sa mas mahinahon na usapin, ang dami nitong collateral damage,” Robredo said Sunday on her radio program.
The Vice President also believes that the criticisms of the President against the water firms might decrease the confidence of the investors to build businesses in the country.
“Dahil sa pagdesisyon ng pabigla-bigla, ano iyong message na binibigay nito sa mga investors? Dati nang bagsak iyong ating foreign direct investments. Kapag nakita ng mga investors na dito pala sa atin walang kasiguraduhan iyong mga kontrata, tingin ba natin maeengganyo ba sila?” Robredo said.
Robredo then asked the government why they only brought up the problem against the water concessionaires in 2019, if they could do it earlier.
“Three and a half years na itong pamahalaang ito. Sigurado naman ako nung pumasok sila noong middle of 2016, alam na nila na mayroong arbitration case,” she said.
“Bakit pa hinintay na lumabas ‘yung desisyon na to? Bakit hindi gumawa ng mga hakbang noon pang 2016 para maayos?” she added.
She also questioned why the government is attempting to take the over the operations of the water companies.
In 1997, the government decided to privatize the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) because of being unable to do its mandate to give quality service to its consumers.
“Parang nakakalimutan natin in the first place kung bakit nandoon ‘yun sa private. Kaya siya binigay sa private kasi nung gobyerno ‘yung humahawak, palpak nga,” she said.
However, Robredo said that she agrees with the government’s goal to review the said contracts, but urged them to be cautious.
“Kung may masamang probisyon, i-renegotiate ‘yun at ‘wag payagan na patuloy na mamayani kasi nakakasama siya sa taong bayan. Pero ‘yung paraan nang paggawa, parating iisipin,” Robredo said.