The MWSS Kaliwa Dam project
(The Philippine Star) - October 1, 2019 - 12:00am

On Sept. 7, 2019 your newspaper published an article by Mr. Alex Magno about the dismissive attitude of MWSS on the procedural issues raised by the Commission on Audit on the bidding for the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project (KDP).

Firstly, we would like to thank Mr. Magno for his well-written article which exactly echoed MWSS sentiment that we need the KDP as our survival is at risk. He correctly emphasized that further delays in the implementation of the project will expose the 15 million residents of Metro Manila, Rizal and Cavite to long bouts of severe water shortages if the project is not implemented soon.

Secondly, we would like to put into context Mr. Magno’s impression that MWSS provoked and was irresponsible in addressing the issues raised by the Commission on Audit (COA) on the vetting done on the Chinese three bidders eligibility under RA 9184.

In response to the COA audit observation received by the MWSS on 10 June, the MWSS has replied two times dated 18 June and 22 July 2019 to clarify all the issues raised by COA.

The MWSS Technical Working Group (TWG) who vetted the three Chinese contractors was circumspect when they recommended the results of their evaluation which was in accordance with Par. 2 of Note Verbale 17-1049 and the Clarificatory Procedures for the Implementation of the Note Verbale 17-1049 (hereinafter, the Clarificatory Procedures).

The prudent manner with which the TWG performed its duties is clearly exemplified when the TWG raised concerns on the capacity and qualification of the three shortlisted Chinese contractors during the meeting with the Department of Finance (DOF) on 25 October 2017. MWSS even formally wrote to the DOF on this matter in its letter dated 09 October 2017, in full compliance with the Clarificatory Procedures.

More importantly, and by way of further establishing the commitment of MWSS to comply with Note Verbale 17-1049 and with the Clarificatory Procedures, and uphold the competitive nature of the selection process, MWSS even requested in the said 09 October 2017 letter the DOF to convey to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce that the short-listed Chinese Contractors be directed “to submit more documents to demonstrate their ability x x x to meet the project requirements” and to encourage more competition “by nominating at least 2 additional firms to be vetted by MWSS as the Implementing Agency x x x”

The above-cited recommendations/requests of MWSS were subsequently conveyed by the DOF to the Chinese Government, as evidenced by the letter of the DOF dated 19 October 2017.

In its letter to MWSS dated 30 October 2017, the DOF confirmed that the recommendations/requests of MWSS were conveyed to the Chinese Government. In addition, the DOF also stated that, pending the feedback from the Chinese embassy,it would “highly appreciate if MWSS can initiate its internal process of finalizing the required bidding documents for the Project.”

The DBM in its confirmatory opinion on the procurement procedures and arrangements for China ODA Loan Financing, confirmed that a “hybrid approach” in the procurement of contractors may be used in the Chinese ODA loan financing as long as it complies with Section 4 of the Republic Act (RA) No. 9184 or the Government Procurement Law. Section 4 of RA No. 9184 provides that foreign bidders may be eligible to participate in the procurement of Infrastructure Projects when provided for under any Treaty or International or Executive Agreement.

We would like to assure that the bidding done and the award of the contract was above board as MWSS acted within the procedural bounds under pertinent laws, statutes and issuances of the National Government.

The MWSS requests you to publish this letter to correct the misrepresentations on the  issue of the vetting process that clouds the implementation of the Kaliwa Dam Project. – Lt. Gen. Emmanuel B. Salamat (Ret), MWSS Administrator

KALIWA DAM PROJECT MWSS
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