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FACT CHECK: Meralco and Maynilad not under gov’t control


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FACT CHECK: Meralco and Maynilad not under gov’t control
No official documents or credible sources exist that confirm the supposed transfer of ownership of these utility companies to the government

Claim: The government will take ownership of power distributor Manila Electric Company (Meralco) and water concessionaire Maynilad.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this:  The claim was made in the title and thumbnail of a YouTube video posted by PINAS NEWS INSIDER, which has gained 90,000 views and 5,700 likes as of writing. Rappler has also fact-checked several videos from the channel spreading false claims. 

The video used file clips of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. meeting with government officials, accompanied by narration stating that major utility companies would return to the government, as promised by Marcos: “Tutuparin na ni President Bongbong Marcos ang kanyang ipinangako during campaign period, kung saan ay maibabalik sa gobyerno o sa pamahalaan ang pagmamay-ari ng ilang major utilities tulad ng Meralco at Maynilad, kung saan ay tila ibinenta noon ng pamahalan ni former President Cory Aquino sa ilang mga pribadong negosyante.”

(President Bongbong Marcos is now fulfilling his promise during the campaign period to return to government control the ownership of certain major utilities like Meralco and Maynilad. These were seemingly sold by the administration of former President Cory Aquino to private businesses in the past.)

The bottom line: Contrary to the video’s claim, the government has not put Meralco and Maynilad under government control, nor did Marcos recently make such an announcement. 

No change in ownership: At present, Meralco is conducting its operations under a 25-year franchise given by Congress in 2003 through Republic Act (RA) No. 9209. According to Philippine Stock Exchange disclosures, the law grants Meralco a franchise valid through June 28, 2028 to “construct, operate, and maintain the electric distribution system in the cities and municipalities of Bulacan, Cavite, Metro Manila, and Rizal and certain cities, municipalities, and barangays in the provinces of Batangas, Laguna, Pampanga, and Quezon.” 

Meralco is privately owned, with Beacon Electric Asset Holdings, Inc., JG Summit Holdings, Inc., and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. as its major shareholders.

Similarly, Maynilad was granted a 25-year franchise through RA 11600, which was passed by Congress in 2021. The company’s website also states that the water concessionaire is “managed by Maynilad Water Holdings Company, Inc. – a joint venture between Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, DMCI Holdings, Inc., and Marubeni Corporation.” 

No official documents or credible sources exist that confirm the supposed transfer of ownership of these utility companies.

The YouTube video also revives a claim that Rappler has debunked. Both videos feature the logos of Meralco and Maynilad on the thumbnail, and both do not provide evidence to support the claim. 

Privatization of government firms: The video also mentions that the administration of former president Corazon Aquino sold state-owned firms to the private sector. Although it is true that the Philippine Privatization Program was launched during the Aquino administration, former president Ferdinand E. Marcos had already paved the way for it through a presidential decree detailing the sale and disposal of government assets. 

In February 1986, the elder Marcos issued Presidential Decree 2030, which provided for the “orderly disposition” of certain government assets deemed not essential to government operations. Prior to that, he had signed Presidential Decree 2029, which defined government-owned and controlled corporations and identified their role in national development. Andrei Santos/Rappler.com

Andrei Santos is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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