Kaliwa Dam construction nears as project gets ECC
MWSS chairman Reynaldo Velasco has confirmed that the agency last week received the environmental compliance certificate (ECC), a requirement for any project in the country that poses potential environmental risk or impact.
Kaliwa Dam construction nears as project gets ECC
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - October 23, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The controversial P18.7-billion Kaliwa Dam is targeted to begin construction by February next year after the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) secured one of the most pertinent documents needed to jumpstart the project.

MWSS chairman Reynaldo Velasco has confirmed that the agency last week received the environmental compliance certificate (ECC), a requirement for any project in the country that poses potential environmental risk or impact.

With the ECC approval, the MWSS is waiting for just one more permit, from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

“We are positive that we can get that permit before the end of the year,” Velasco told The STAR.

“While there are NGOs (non-government organizations) meddling with the project, the NCIP knows that this is a flagship project of the administration,” he said.

Civil society and non-government organizations have been supporting the call of the Agta-Dumagat-Remontado tribes in Quezon and Rizal who are opposing the Kaliwa Dam project.

The project is said to displace the indigenous communities and threaten the already endangered flaura and fauna in the Sierra Madre Mountain Range.

Once the NCIP permit is secured, China Energy Engineering Corp. will submit the engineering design which will be up for approval of the MWSS Board.

“By February, hopefully the design will be approved by the board. We will immediately proceed with the construction right after,” Velasco said.

In a document dated Oct. 11,  the Environmental Management Bureau has issued an ECC for the Kaliwa Dam project to be located in Teresa and Tanay in Rizal and in General Nakar and Infanta in Quezon.

The ECC was signed and issued by EMB director Metodio Turbella.

“With the issuance of this ECC, you are expected to implement the measures presented in the environmental impact statements intended to protect and mitigate the project’s adverse impacts on community health, welfare and the environment,” Turbella said.

The certificate was issued after proponents submitted an environmental impact statement, which is a “comprehensive study of the significant impacts of a project on the environment.”

“However, you may proceed with the project implementation only after securing the necessary permits from other pertinent government agencies. Environmental considerations shall be incorporated in all phases and aspects of the project,” he said.

The ECC covers the construction and operation of gravity dam along the Kaliwa river with a dam height of 60 meters referred to a riverbed elevation of 100 meters.

It will also cover a reservoir surface area of 291 hectares with a gross reservoir volume of 57 million cubic meters at full supply level.

According to the ECC, proponents must institute and strictly implement an information, education and communication program to inform stakeholders of measures to mitigate the project’s effects on the environment, including measures for environmental disaster risk reduction.

MWSS must also submit memoranda of agreement with affected local government units for social development programs in their areas and implement programs that will protect the cultural heritage of the Dumagats who have lived there for generations.

It must also develop an Integrated Watershed Management Plan and “ensure the structural soundness/stability of the dam through compliance with internationally accepted structural dam design standards.”

The ECC also says MWSS must “ensure that the sacred sites and burial grounds, as well as the culture and livelihood of the IPs are preserved and protected.”

MWSS must also implement “mitigating measures” to protect and preserve Tinipak Spring and Tinipak White Rocks, which are sacred to the IP communities that live along the river.

After 34 years, Kaliwa Dam is set to fully take off following the formal signing of the contract between President Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping last November.

Kaliwa Dam aims to complement Angat Dam, Metro Manila’s main water source. It is expected to supply an additional 600 million liters of water per day to the capital.

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