14:13 GMT +323 September 2019
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    President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte (File)

    Duterte Orders Review of Gov’t Deals With Private Firms to ‘Protect Filipinos’

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    Earlier, the Philippine President instructed the country’s Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and Solicitor General Jose Calida to “study” Maynilad Water Services; the company won a 64-million-dollar arbitration case against the government last year.

    Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the government to double-check its agreements with private companies, the Rappler news website reports.

    The news outlet quoted presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo as saying in a statement on Tuesday that during a Cabinet meeting, Duterte “instructed all government agencies to check and review all contracts entered into and remove onerous provisions that might be detrimental to the lives of the Filipinos”.

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    “He [President Duterte] reiterated his vow to protect the people of the Philippines,” Panelo added.

    Philippine Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, for his part, said that Duterte's general review order will cover “onerous government contracts with private domestic companies”.

    “Contractual provisions that are contrary to the public interest or public policy may be invalidated under our laws,” Guevarra explained.

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    According to the Rappler, Duterte’s order apparently pertains to previous water crisis-struck parts of greater Manila that he blamed on the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and the private companies Manila Water and Maynilad Water Services.

    Earlier, the Philippine President told Guevarra and Solicitor General Jose Calida to “study” Maynilad’s arbitration case against the government in October 2018.

    At the time, the court’s decision compelled the Philippine government to pay Maynilad 3.42 billion PHP (about $65 mln) for not implementing a water tariff hike from March 2015 to August 2016.


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