MANILA, Philippines –  The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewage System (MWSS) is banking on the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)’s approval of its P18-billion New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project this year.

In an interview, MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco told reporters the agency is still waiting for NEDA’s approval of the Kaliwa Dam project before it can start bidding the project out to contractors.

Velasco said the project would be bidded out to Chinese contractors, as bulk of the project would be financed by the Chinese government through an official development assistance(ODA) worth P10 billion.

He added initially, around P16 billion worth of ODA was allotted for the project.

Public cost of the project, which would be undertaken by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), is P8 billion, according to the MWSS official.

During his keynote speech at the Water Security Forum Series 4: Averting a Crisis organized by the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (Finex), Velasco said the funding for the first phase of the project was submitted to NEDA last Jan. 17.

He added last March 21, the Investment Coordination Committee-Cabinet Committee confirmed the financing shift of the project from public-private partnership (PPP) to ODA.

“In the last three months being at the helm at MWSS, at least six interested parties from China, Japan, Korea and the Philippines expressed interest to undertake and fund the $1-billion twin flagship dam projects (Kaliwa and Laiban) either through ODA or PPP,” Velasco said.