Manny Villar will not be able to take over water distribution in Metro Manila without a fight from tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan, the chairman of Maynilad. Or President Duterte, for the matter.

Villar is hardly the only billionaire currently setting their sights on Maynilad.

Pangilinan, however, assured Maynilad executives that no takeovers would take place under his watch.

In fact, his language was quite firm and indignant, when he declared his stance during Maynilad’s 2019 Christmas Party.

Addressing top executives evening of Monday, December 16, Pangilinan said that the company is not selling.

The company is also not going to stand down.

An insider with a high-ranking position told Rappler that in that supposed-happy celebration, the board of directors was relatively complete.

This made it perfect for the announcement, even though it was a typical company Christmas party.

Vice-Chair Isidro Consunji, Maynilad executive officer Ramoncito Fernandez, and chief operating Randolph Estrellado then joined Pangilinan.

Other notable officials at the event were from the companies Metro Pacific Investment Corporation, DM Consunji Incorporated.

There were also several Japanese investors at the event.

Held in an exclusive restaurant, Lighthouse, located within the Meralco compound, the partygoers ate good food – baked salmon, seafood paella, and even angus beef, and had great fun.

Even with the seemingly tensed announcement, senior executives sung 70s’ and 80s’ hit songs.

Maynilad Military Takeover Possible

This announcement came after President Duterte warns of a possible military takeover of Maynilad.

According to the Inquirer, a speech during the birthday celebration of former senator Manny Villar, he said, if pushed, he will order the Armed forces to operate and take over if he would not be satisfied with the explanation over some onerous deals alleged of the Maynilad.

He would also not hesitate to arrest people whom he thinks are committing economic sabotage. He implied that Maynilad and Manila water are committing such.

Interest Rate Changes Should Be Flexible

The warning from the President came even as Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III already said the government is willing to adjust its contracts with both Maynilad and Manila Water Co. that would reflect interest rate changes.

Ultimately, these changes can benefit the public. According to Dominguez, it is not wise for concession agreements with Maynilad and Manila Water should not contain fixed return on rates. Flexibility in the current interest rate environment is crucial

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