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Duterte to water firms: Return people's money, then we talk
Published on: Saturday, February 08, 2020
By: The Philippine Star
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Photo Source: philstar.com
MANILA: President Rodrigo Duterte announced Thursday that he would be open to talks with water firms if they return the money they allegedly stole from consumers in an apparent shift from his hard-line stance on what he had described as “onerous” water deals.

Duterte said he would like to know where the money collected by water distributors Manila Water and Maynilad from consumers went.

“So where is the money? Where is the money of the Filipino people? Where is the money of the average Filipino who are poor but who pay (their water bills), who pays his water bill and he has to pay because if it will be cut off, it would give him a lot of headache for the day?” the President said during the oath taking of new appointees in Malacañang. 

“Where is the money of that son of a b****? Give us back the money. Give it back to the people and maybe we can talk about solving your problem. It will not be the problem of this government,” he added. 

Duterte previously said he does not want to negotiate with water concessionaires, whom he had accused of “milking” Filipinos by the billions. The President had also ordered the justice department and the Office of the Solicitor General to draft new water contracts that would be more advantageous to the public. He had threatened to order the military to take over water distribution if Manila Water and Maynilad refuses to accept the new deals. 

“They’re (water firms) trying to reach out for a settlement. Let us see how it develops. Talagang galit ako as in galit (I am really furious),” the President said. 

“Hindi ako nagyayabang. Hindi ako matapang. Pero p***** i**, ‘pag naasar ako sa’yo, sasampalin kita sa harap ng tao (I do not brag. I am not brave. But son of a b****, if I get angry with you, I will slap you in public.” 

Duterte said water firms have been collecting money from consumers for years but has yet to provide them potable water. 

“It’s in your bill if you care to look at it. And it is there that you guys have been collecting money since (1997) to build a something of – and you have not even come up with a can of clean water or a canal there,” the president said. 

The President previously threatened to file graft, economic sabotage and plunder charges against owners of water concessionaires for allegedly using their concession deals to take advantage of consumers. He had also decried provisions of the concession deals that barred the government from stopping water rate hikes and allowed water distributors to collect damages for losses that stem from regulatory actions.



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