MWSS thumbs down Kaliwa Dam dev’t offer by Japanese

By Madelaine B. Miraflor

The proposal of Osaka-based Global Utility Development Corporation Ltd. (GUDC) to build an alternative dam to the controversial Kaliwa Dam will no longer be considered by this administration, a top official of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) said.

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MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco said the proposal of GUDC to build the US$410-million Kaliwa Intake Weir project in Rizal province under a 25-year Build, Operate, Transfer (BOT) scheme didn't obtain the approval of National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

"Wala na yan ," Velasco said.

"I don't know why it wasn't approved by NEDA years ago," he added.

Based on a data from Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center, GUDC’s unsolicited proposal for the Kaliwa Intake Weir Project is "ineligible for unsolicited proposals" pursuant to Section 10.3 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the BOT Law.

In a letter to GUDC in 2017, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia also made it clear that the Investment Coordination Committee, as confirmed by NEDA Board, preferred to pursue the Kaliwa Dam project through Official Development Assistance (ODA).

Speaking to reporters on Monday, GUDC President Toshikazu Nomura said the Kaliwa Intake Weir project will be a "cheaper" and "more environment friendly" alternative to the US$800-million Kaliwa Dam project.

To be largely funded by the Chinese government, the Kaliwa Dam — which will supply additional 600 million liters daily (mld) by 2023 to Metro Manila, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan — has already been signed in November or about a year since the Duterte Administration ordered the financing shift of the project from Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to ODA.

The Kaliwa Dam project, which was first packaged as one big project under the New Centennial Water Source Project (NCWSP), is located within two municipalities in Quezon province.

NCWSP is supposedly an integrated dam system project consisting of Kaliwa Dam and Laiban Dam, but the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) eventually decided to shelve the Laiban Dam project.

When it was still a PPP project, some companies like San Miguel Corp. and Megawide Construction Corp. have expressed interest to take on the NCWSP.

GUDC's Kaliwa Intake Weir project proposal, on the other hand, goes way back in 2009. On that year, a memorandum of understanding was forged between GUDC and MWSS for the development of the project, which will have a capacity of 550 mld.

In 2017, GUDC has submitted the project proposal again on the request of the MWSS Board. But it was turned down by both MWSS and NEDA.