Palace studying Kaliwa Dam project, Japanese firm’s proposal

Published March 19, 2019, 11:11 AM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Genalyn Kabiling

The proposed China-funded Kaliwa Dam project and the alternative proposal of a Japanese firm will be placed under government study, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo

Panelo, also Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, said his office would undertake the study on the water source proposals and get inputs from experts after the Japanese company claimed it could build a better alternative to the China-funded dam project.

“We will leave it to his judgment call but if you ask me personally if the advantage is so clear, if it is true the Chinese proposal is onerous, I think we should look into it,” Panelo said during a Palace press briefing when asked if the President will order a review of the China contract amid the Japan’s supposed better and cheaper proposal.

“I think that should be thoroughly studied if the claim of the Japanese is true or not,” he added.

He clarified though the China-funded Kaliwa Dam project will probably continue despite the pending inquiry to be conducted by his office.

“Tuloy siguro ‘yun until siguro kapag may na-discover ako na anomalous [That will continue unless I discover something anomalous],” he said in a later interview with reporters.

He added that the dam project could be stopped “if there is fraud entering into it.”

Panelo said he would also ask the Japanese company to give him a copy of the proposed Kaliwa Intake Weir project with the government.

“My office will look into it and then I will make a recommendation to the President,” he said.

He said he would also ask the expert opinion of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) why it prefers the Chinese over the Japanese proposal.

Osaka-based Global Utility Development Corporation had earlier revived its offer to build the Kaliwa Intake Weir project. The proposal includes the construction of a seven-meter high and 16-kilometer weir or low dam that can provide 550 million liters per day of water.

Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Reynaldo Velasco, however, maintained that the Kaliwa Dam project was done deal after being approved by NEDA.

The government had earlier signed a loan agreement with China on the construction of the Kaliwa Dam in Quezon, another potential source of water for Metro Manila.

The local community, however, has reportedly opposed the construction of the dam amid concerns it would result to floods and displace the residents.