Sun. Sep 19th, 2021

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte would “most likely” raise the government’s supposed “onerous” concession deals with water firms Manila Water and Maynilad during his impending meeting with business tycoon Manuel Pangilinan, Malacañang said on Friday.

This comes a day after Senator Christopher Lawrence Go confirmed that Duterte wanted to set a meeting “soon” with Pangilinan, who chairs Maynilad.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte and Pangilinan are expected to discuss issues of “mutual concerns.”

“I understand the President told him that they will meet sometime. Siguro (Perhaps, they would) most likely (talk about the water concession agreements),” Panelo said in an interview with reporters.

Panelo, however, did not divulge as to where and when the meeting between the two will be held.

Duterte and Pangilinan met on Friday during the inspection and project presentation of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) Harbor Link C3-R10 section in Caloocan City.

The infrastructure project was constructed by the Department of Public Works and Highways in Partnership with NLEX Corporation, which is a unit of Pangilinan’s Metro Pacific Investments Corporation.

Duterte failed to recognize Pangilinan’s presence when he delivered a keynote speech during the event.

After delivering his brief address, Duterte shook Pangilinan’s hand and took the initiative to set a meeting with the business tycoon.

Duterte has repeatedly lambasted Pangilinan and Fernando Zobel de Ayala, chair of Manila Water, for allegedly putting the country at a disadvantage due to their supposed onerous water contracts with the government.

He has also directed the filing of appropriate criminal, civil and administrative charges against the owners and legal counsels of Manila Water and Maynilad, as well as the agents and lawyers of the governments involved in the crafting of the concession pacts.

Duterte has already ordered the crafting of a new and “better” concession agreements with the two water firms.

Manila Water and Maynilad, however, have yet to accept the proposed water deals. (ia/PNA)

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