By MELANDREW T. VELASCO
QUEZON CITY – Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) welcomed industrialist Enrique Razon as he takes over as President and Chief Executive Officer of Manila Water Company, Inc.
In a statement, MWSS Chairman and Acting Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco said the appointment is very timely with the signing of a new concession agreement between the government and the East Zone concessionaire.
“We welcome his appointment as President and CEO of Manila Water,” Velasco said. “With the new concession agreement signed, we look forward to working more closely with Manila Water to better serve the people. It is a very timely appointment,” he added.
Velasco also thanked Messrs. Fernando and Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, and Jose Rene Gregory Almendras who vacated their posts to give way to the new team led by Razon.
“I am grateful for the opportunity of working with the Ayalas and Mr. Almendras. For 24 years, the Ayalas did a great job in ensuring the availability of water in every faucet in their concession area bringing to 98 percent water coverage in the East Zone,” he said.
“Of course, there were problems along the way like the March 2019 water shortage, but that shouldn’t be the sole responsibility of Manila Water,” he said, adding the water crisis demonstrated the need for collaborative efforts among stakeholders.
Aside from being President and CEO, Razon was also appointed Chairman of the Board. His appointment was effective last June 3, 2021.
It will be recalled that last year, Prime Metroline Holdings, Inc. led by Razon signed with Manila Water a subscription agreement for the acquisition of shares of Manila Water. The investment brought in P10.7 billion in additional equity capital for Manila Water.
In February this year, the Razon-led Trident Water Co. acquired more shares in Manila Water worth more than P4.8 billion.
In March, MWSS signed on behalf of the government a revised concession agreement with Manila Water after it was reviewed by a panel led by the Department of Justice.
The new CA is described as a win-win solution for all parties: protecting the interest of the government and consumers while remaining economically viable to the investors.
With the infusion of additional investments into Manila Water, it can now pursue more projects to improve its water and wastewater services and expand its operations.
Manila Water’s East Zone encompasses 23 cities and municipalities spanning a 1,400-square kilometer area that includes Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Pateros, San Juan, Taguig, Marikina, most parts of Quezon City, portions of Manila, as well as the towns of Rizal: Angono, Antipolo, Baras, Binangonan, Cainta, Cardona, Jala-Jala, Morong, Pililia, Rodriguez, San Mateo,Tanay, Taytay, and Teresa.
Manila Water has also ventured into other parts of the country through the Manila Water Philippine Ventures. Under it are Boracay Water, Clark Water, Laguna Water, Estate Water, Bulacan Water, Obando Water, Calasiao Water, Cebu Water, Tagum Water, and Zamboanga Water.
Overseas, Manila Water has investments and management contracts in Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and Myanmar.
The successful legal framework of the PPP between MWSS and the concessionaires, Maynilad and Manila Water, is now being replicated in other parts of the country and, also in our ASEAN neighbors like Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Velasco said by necessity, government has to depend on public-private partnership in pursuing infrastructure projects more so at this time of economic contraction brought about by the pandemic.