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Government pushes P839 billion water infrastructure projects

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star
Government pushes P839 billion water infrastructure projects
During an investment forum organized by the UK government yesterday, Finance Undersecretary Catherine Fong maintained that water remains an overlooked resource in the world.
Philstar.com / Irish Lising

MANILA, Philippines — The government is pursuing P839 billion worth of projects to boost the country’s water resources in a bid to fuel economic development.

During an investment forum organized by the UK government yesterday, Finance Undersecretary Catherine Fong maintained that water remains an overlooked resource in the world.

“Many of our communities still suffer from a lack of potable water while others endure the devastating effects of flooding year after year due to climate change,” Fong said.

She said there is a need to urgently address such challenges by forging sustainable solutions through investments in surface water sources in partnership with the private sector.

Under the Build Better More program of the government, there are 44 infrastructure flagship projects aimed at boosting water resources, with an indicative cost of P839.13 billion.

This is part of the bigger P8.78 trillion in total infrastructure projects that the administration wants to pursue.

Of the 44 water resource projects, the biggest is the P115.05-billion Central Luzon-Pampanga River Floodway Control Project that covers the construction of a 56-kilometer floodway channel.

The project is under preparation and will be funded through official development assistance (ODA). It is likely to be completed after the Marcos administration.

This is followed by the P102.21-billion Parañaque Spillway Tunnel Project, which would drain excess lake water from Laguna de Bay into Manila Bay through an underground drainage channel.

It will be funded via Japanese loan and awaits government approval.

Other big projects include the Ambal Simuay and Rio Grande de Mindanao River Flood Control and Riverbank Protection Project and the Davao City Flood Control and Drainage Project.

Much of the projects would be funded by the national budget as well as ODA from China, Japan and South Korea and multilaterals Asian Development Bank, World Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Implementing agencies include the Department of Public Works and Highways, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and the National Irrigation Administration.

Fong said the Department of Finance (DOF) is refining the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act to better address concerns and tailor-fit incentives for more strategic investments.

To improve the entire water system, the DOF is also pushing for the passage of a law creating the Department of Water Resources.

“At present, there are over 30 agencies that manage the country’s water resources. Their overlapping functions result in disjointed planning and uneven quality execution,” Fong said.

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