House Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez on Wednesday urged House of Representatives leaders to withdraw approval on Monday for 25-year franchises at two of the country’s largest water concessionaires, Maynilad and Manila Water.
“As Vice-President, I am an ex-officio member of all committees. I never received an invitation to attend the Franchise Commission hearings on these two franchise bills, ”Rodriguez said in a statement.
The representative for the city of Cagayan de Oro berated House management for the “indecent rush” in rushing the approval of the Maynilad and Manila Water franchises on Tuesday evening and said the failure of the House committee on franchises legislation to invite members violates the rules of the lower house.
“As Vice-President, I am an ex-officio member of all committees. I never received an invitation to attend the Franchise Commission hearings on these two franchise bills, ”the legislator said.
“(This) violates House rules that hearings must be made public and that all chamber members and anyone who opposes the measures should be invited to attend and ask questions,” a- he stressed.
Rodriguez warned House leadership that the public would suspect he was profiting from the pandemic, when he could have waited for the lockdowns in Metro Manila and other areas to end, so they can look into these measures in detail “because they involve tens of billions that millions of consumers will pay for.
“I would have asked officials and dealers why their previous contracts were allegedly onerous to government and consumers, as President Duterte himself pointed out? What were the onerous features and who wrote these contracts? »Remarked the solon of Mindanao.
Rodriguez also said he would like to know the terms of the new contracts and how they differ from the old agreements and if there are any improvements that have been introduced.
“How do we know that all unilateral provisions have been removed and that the new contracts are now fair to the public, government and dealers if we don’t put them to scrutiny?” »He stressed.
He also said he would like to ask if the two concessionaires are now required to install sanitation systems and plants, instead of dumping waste into Manila Bay.
“Is this part of the new contracts? What is the compliance deadline, what are the penalties in the event of non-compliance? We don’t know because we haven’t had the opportunity to ask questions and to vote knowingly, ”he asked.
Rodriguez also said it was imperative for the two dealers to clarify concerns about system losses, which, like in the case of electricity, would be borne by customers.
“Why should we pay for water or electricity that is stolen or stolen, that is lost due to leaks, neglect, inefficiency and other causes beyond the consumer’s control? Like electricity, is wastewater subject to 12% value added tax (VAT)? He asked further.
SUBSCRIBE TO THE DAILY NEWSLETTER
CLICK HERE TO JOIN