Maynilad mulls withdrawing arbitration case vs. gov’t

By CNN Philippines Staff

Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (Maynilad) will consider to withdraw its arbitration case against the government, according to its chairperson Manuel Pangilinan.

Pangilinan was quoted in media reports as saying that the water concessionaire is willing to drop the arbitration proceedings if it settles tariff issues with the government.

“To clarify, Maynilad Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said that Maynilad will consider dropping our arbitration cases if we are able to fully settle all issues with the government. He noted that Maynilad has been working with government on the tariffs, and there has been progress made in that effort,” Maynilad told CNN Philippines.

Pangilinan’s statement came after Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo last week said President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered a review of the concessionaire agreement with water providers Maynilad and Manila Water following the water crisis in March.

Singapore’s high court last September ruled in favor of Maynilad in its arbitration with the government, ordering the latter to compensate the water concessionaire for revenue losses amounting to P3.4 billion.

The foregone revenue was incurred after the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) refused to implement Maynilad’s tariff adjustment from 2013 to 2017. The ruling was finalized in October 2018 after the Philippine government decided to no longer move forward with the case.

However, Malacañang said the government can still prosecute Maynilad officials even if the company drops the case.

“If a crime has been committed, then we should prosecute regardless whether the parties involved have withdrawn,” Panelo said in a media briefing.

The spokesperson said the administration will have to wait yet for the recommendation of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on the matter.

“I’ve not heard of that. We will wait for the recommendation of the Secretary of Justice on that,” he said.

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