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With Congress OK, Duterte may take over water operations amid shortage, says Lacson

President Rodrigo Duterte may take over the operation of water  utilities to address the looming shortage that may affect millions of Metro Manila customers, according to Senator Panfilo Lacson.

"Given a looming, if not existing water crisis, the Congress may delegate to the president the power of the state to take over the operation of public utilities," he said of the  threatening shortage.

Lacson stressed the president must first declare a state of emergency and that Congress has to delegate the power to him.

He also said the government should be prepared to compensate the private concessionaire for losses during the period of take over.

"However, the president has to declare an emergency and if Congress delegates that power to him, the government must be ready to compensate whatever losses the private concessionaire would incur during the period of the government takeover," Lacson added.

Several areas in Metro Manila and other provinces are experiencing water shortage supply, leading Duterte to toy with the idea of using the "extraordinary powers" to solve the situation.

A multi-billion project in Quezon province, the Kaliwa Dam project, is in the offing, but is being met with protests.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier confirmed that the president was thinking of government takeover.

He cited Section 17, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution which mandates that the state may “temporarily take over or direct the operation of any privately-owned public utility or business affected with public interest" in times of emergency. —Joahna Lei Casilao/LDF, GMA News