MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte has promised to rectify government contracts with private firms that would be found detrimental to the Filipino people.
In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN aired on Friday night, Duterte said he would use his remaining years in office to review the present deals between the government and private companies.
“All contracts that are prejudicial to the Filipino people will be corrected. Iyan ang maasahan mo (You can count on that) within the limited time left for me in office,” he said.
Last December 5, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President has ordered the review of numerous public service contracts of the government with private firms to ensure that these are advantageous to Filipinos.
The thorough review of deals came after Duterte was irked by the Singapore-based Permanent Court of Arbitration’s order for the Philippine government to pay water concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad some PHP7.4 billion and PHP3.42 billion, respectively, as compensation for the two firms’ supposed losses.
In April 2019, there was also a directive from the President to the Office of the Solicitor General, the Department of Justice, and other state legal departments to look into all of the government contracts with private companies and other countries.
Duterte’s order in April last year was meant to remove all “onerous” provisions of the contracts that would “put the Filipino people at (a) disadvantage or are in violation of the Constitution.”
Critics have noted that existing and binding arrangements with private firms and other nations could not be revoked because such a move would constitute a clear breach of contract, but Panelo said the President has the power to scrap any deal that may be found unconstitutional.
Duterte said he would not be cowed by the possibility that investors might be dissuaded from putting up businesses in the Philippines, following his ongoing review of all pacts with private companies.
“If you thought that they would be getting out of the Philippines, fine go out, be my guest. I will not be intimidated or even fear the possibility of reduced investment in this country,” he said. “What I’m after for is justice for the Filipino people. For all I care, they can all withdraw but (I) still have to maintain what’s a matter of dignity for us.”
Source: This news article Duterte vows to correct ‘prejudicial’ deals with private sector was originally published in Philippine News Agency, written by Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos
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