ECC delay stalls P12.2-billion Kaliwa Dam project

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The construction of the long overdue P12.2-billion Kaliwa Dam may suffer further delays as its application for environmental compliance certificate remains hanging.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) has yet to complete some requirements for the ECC application.

“ I think they are completing their requirements. But the point is, even if they submit all the documents, we will still be evaluating the viability of their activities,” Environment Undersecretary Jonas Leones told The STAR.

“We will still be the one to determine whether their mitigating measures will be able to address the possible disturbances or (in the area). If their measures are not okay, then we will not allow them,” he said.

The MWSS earlier said it was optimistic to receive the ECC approval from the DENR next month.

Construction of the New Centennial Water Supply Project can only take off once the DENR issues the ECC, a requirement needed for any project in the country that poses potential environmental risk or impact.

“We cannot really determine the impact of the project unless they comply with all the requirements. As of now, it’s not yet complete, so chances are, it will be delayed,” Leones said.

MWSS earlier said among the challenges it was facing was securing permits from the indigenous peoples (IPs) in the area.

It has been targeting to secure the ECC and finish the design until March to immediately proceed with the construction of the dam.

Last year, MWSS released an initial P565 million which was used to  pay to the Department of Public Works and Highways for road construction.

Of the P12.2 billion construction cost of the project, 85 percent will be funded by the official development assistance from China amounting to P10.2 billion, while 15 percent or P2 billion will be shouldered by MWSS.

The project, which will supply additional 600 million liters of water per day to Metro Manila, will be undertaken by China Energy Engineering Corp.  It was first approved by NEDA in 2014.

Financing scheme was changed in 2017 from a public-private partnership to official development assistance.

MWSS said the benefits of the project also include tourism boom, opening of new roads, employment opportunities and improved economy in the areas.

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