The proposed New Centennial Water Source Project (NCWSP), the integrated dam system project consisting of Kaliwa Dam and Laiban Dam, will get a sure funding of as much as P10 billion from China as the Philippine government finally tries to get the project moving after being stalled for several years.
To be implemented by Department of Public Works and Highways (DWPH), NCWSP will involve the construction of a dam at the Kaliwa River (Laiban Dam) and a smaller dam (Kaliwa Dam) downstream to maximize the water supply and to ensure short and long-term supply for Metro Manila and its adjoining areas.
As of now, only the Kaliwa Dam project has been approved by National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). There is now a call from the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to implement the Kaliwa Dam and Laiban Dam projects simultaneously.
The project will cost P18.72 billion and would cover areas in Quezon Province.
MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco said in an interview that China and the Philippine governments have already signed an agreement to fund the NCWSP.
“(Chinese government pledged to provide) P10 billion for the project. They don’t have any problem in terms of funding. They didn’t specify a limit. Hopefully, within the year, we will finish the bidding (for contractors). We are just waiting for the approval of NEDA,” Velasco told reporters on the sidelines of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX) Forum.
It was just in March when the government ordered the financing shift of the NCWSP from Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to Official Development Assistance (ODA).
Because of this shift, DPWH would now have to cover the remaining P8- billion project cost to complete the project.
And since the ODA is coming from the Chinese government, the foreign country would now have the power to select the contractors among Chinese companies to implement the project.
Velasco is also hoping that Laiban Dam, as a separate project, will be finally approved and implemented within the term of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Laiban Dam, a bulk water supply project, has been approved, deferred, cancelled and re-approved since its proposal in the late 1970s, according to an earlier report.
It was suspended in 1989 during the administration of President Cory Aquino.
With the privatization of MWSS during the Ramos Administration, the implementation of the Laiban Dam Project was left hanging as both Maynilad and Manila Water Services, Inc. took over the west and east sectors of Metro Manila.
Laiban dam project was approved for funding under the China Loan during the administration of President Gloria Arroyo on April 2007 but in 2008 the project was ordered cancelled.
The project was repackaged under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III under the Water Security Legacy Plan of MWSS as an integrated dam system.