The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) is planning to take over an estimated 60 percent of the Lopez-controlled Maynilad Water Services Inc., just 3 percent less than what was originally proposed by Maynilad’s Amendment 2.
“The government’s ownership will not reach 70 percent,” MWSS Administrator Orlando Hondrade told The Manila Times during a break in an MWSS Board of Trustees’ meeting on Tuesday.
He said the takeover is going to be different from Amendment 2, but he gave no details.
Amendment 2, which was eventually disapproved by the MWSS, would have enabled the government to take over 63 percent of Maynilad and pay the staggering P19 billion the firm owes its creditors and suppliers.
Hondrade also said the MWSS is planning to get less than P8 billion from Maynilad’s $120-million performance bond as payment for the water utility’s concession fees.
Since March 2001 Maynilad has failed to settle its concession fees to MWSS, which are used to pay for MWSS’ dollar-denominated debts. As such, the MWSS has run up a $150-million bridge loan to pay for the debts Maynilad assumed when MWSS was privatized in 1997.
These, among others, are just one of the few proposals, comments and recommendations of the MWSS to Maynilad’s revised rehabilitation plan, which is awaiting a decision by a Quezon City court.
In taking over Maynilad, the MWSS will incur less than P19 billion in debt, which the Lopez utility owes to creditors and suppliers.
“Other debts of Maynilad are now being written off,” Hondrade said. He declined to give an estimate of how much was written off and how much would be paid by the MWSS.
By Robert JA Basilio Jr.