Duterte mulls gov't takeover of Maynilad, Manila Water if water shortage escalates
MANILA, Philippines – If water shortage hits emergency levels, a government takeover of Metro Manila water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water may be among the actions President Rodrigo Duterte would take.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said this was the "extraordinary powers" the Chief Executive could employ to end water shortage, a problem that has hit parts of Metro Manila and Rizal twice in 2019.
"He said I will assume control so that means government control," said Panelo on Tuesday, October 29, during a Malacañang news briefing.
He was asked if Duterte meant a government takeover of the two water firms when he gave a media interview on Monday. Duterte had then also been asked if he wanted to fast-track the completion of the China-funded Kaliwa Dam, touted by the government as a possible new water source for water-starved Metro Manila.
Asked what would prompt Duterte to order the government takeover, Panelo said, "Kung grabe na yung water crisis, kung wala na tayong naiinom (If the water crisis gets really bad, if we have nothing to drink)."
In the 1987 Constitution, the government can "take over or direct the operation" of any privately-owned public utility but only during times of "national emergency" and "when the public interest requires it."
The takeover must also be done "under reasonable terms." – Rappler.com