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NEDA backs extension of Manila Water, Maynilad franchises

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 [ ]

THE National Economic and Development Authority has recommended to extend the concessions of two water distributors to prevent water rates hike, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto.

Recto said he recommended to the Cabinet meeting that President Arroyo chairs to extend the franchise of Manila Water Co. Inc. (MWCI) and Maynila Water Services Inc. (MWSI).

“If they [Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System] will do that [extending the franchise], the price of water will not increase and then they will spend double their capex [capital expenditure] next year,” he said.

Manila Water earlier announced that it plans to spend P187 billion, while Maynilad has set aside P178 billion for its capital expenditure projects over the next 15 years.

The Regulatory Office of MWSS had thumbed down proposals for the extension of the separate concession contracts of Manila Water and Maynilad. Both Manila Water and Maynilad, which handle the East and West zones, respectively, of the MWSS concession area, eyed a contract extension as early as 2007.

The East Zone is composed of the cities of Makati, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Que­zon City, some parts of Manila, San Juan, Taguig and Pateros, Rizal province.

The Ayala family runs the Manila Water, which services five million residents.

Maynilad operates MWSS’ 25-year West Zone concession, servicing parts of Manila, Pasay, Para­ñaque, Caloocan, Muntinlupa, Las Piñas, Valenzuela and Quezon cities. It also sells water in Cavite City and the nearby towns of Bacoor, Kawit, Noveleta, Rosario and Imus in the province of Cavite.

DMCI Holdings Inc., Metro Pacific Investments Corp. and Ashmore Investment Management Ltd. operates Maynilad.-- Darwin G. Amojelar


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