MANILA, Philippines — She has been photographed being flanked by the owners of the country’s big-time water firms aside from this, she is widely known at being constantly critical against the Duterte administration but on Sunday, Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo did the unexpected, she went with the flow.
In a move that could affect her relationship with the bigtime water concessionaires, Robredo announced she strongly backs a Duterte government initiative calling for a thorough review of what is now largely known as “onerous” deals entered into by Maynilad and Manila Water with previous Philippine administrations.
However, the second most powerful government official of the land cautioned the Duterte administration to be circumspect on the review as “careless decisions” might drive away potential investors.
“Yes, it should be done — especially now that it appears the agreements have onerous provisions,” Robredo, speaking in Filipino, said on her “BISErbisyong LENI” weekly program aired AM radio station DZXL, when asked about agreements with Manila Water Company, Inc. and Maynilad Water Services, Inc.
“But for me, there are calmer ways of doing it. If we deal with this issue calmly there will be a lot of collateral damage,” the vice president said.
As an example, the vice president cited the estimated P127-billion drop in some of the conglomerate’s shares in the stock market after President Rodrigo Duterte’s tirades against the water firms.
Aside from that, Robredo said, the state-run Social Security System and Government Service Insurance System, both of which have investments in the water firms’ parent conglomerates might also be affected.
“Secondly, what message is the government sending to investors when it makes rash decisions? Our foreign direct investments have been low even before. And if investors see that the deals with the government have no assurance, will they be enticed to invest here?” Robredo added.
It may be recalled, last week the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System revoked the extension of concession agreements of Manila Water and Maynilad after both firms drew the ire of Duterte following Manila Water’s 11-billion-peso arbitration victory in Singapore over the government last November. (IAMIGO/CNS)