Water rate hike looms with impending construction of Kaliwa Dam

Marje Pelayo   •   November 22, 2018   •   2397

MANILA, Philippines – Households are likely to suffer from another water rate hike as the construction of the Kaliwa Dam in Infanta, Quezon is set to begin.

According to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), the Philippines will enter into a loan project with China to fund the construction of the P12.1B dam project.

The fund will come from the Export and Import Bank of China while the Chinese Energy Engineering Group will serve as contractor of the project.

The loan will be shouldered by water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water which the two will eventually collect from their respective clients.

The MWSS, however, clarified that the increase will not be done abruptly.

“Pero ito naman ay will be spread over 20 years. So ito siguro baka wala pang P10 a month ang equivalent niyan sa household over the next 5 years so hindi masyadong apektado niyan ang rate,” explained MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco.

But a group of consumers oppose the plan of burdening the costumers with the loan obligations.

They argue that the government should be the one to shoulder the loan payment to ease the burden of consumers.

“Kasi kung utang ng gobyerno, ang gobyerno ang magbabayad. Somewhere siguro in the form of taxes pero sa consumer zero. Kapag kase ang Maynilad at Manila Water ang magbabayad ng utang ipapasa sa atin yan,” argued Laban Konsyumer President Vic Dimagiba.

The consumer group will appeal for another round of talk with MWSS to further review the project plan.

But to MWSS, the construction of the Kaliwa Dam is highly necessary and must be executed at the soonest possible time because Angat Dam can no longer suffice the needed supply of the growing population of consumers in Metro Manila.

Once the project is done, the MWSS will be able to supply up to 600 million liters of water a day in Metro Manila.

Based on the original plan, the Kaliwa Dam is expected to be erected in five years-time. However, they MWSS targets to complete its construction until 2020 before the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Mon Jocson)

DPWH opens 6-kilometer by-pass road in Lopez, Quezon

Robie de Guzman   •   November 8, 2019

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark A. Villar formally opened to vehicular traffic on Friday, November 8, 2019 the 6.053 kilometers Lopez Bypass Road Project that will ease the bottleneck along busy Manila South Road-Daang Maharlika Highway. (DPWH Facebook Page)

MANILA, Philippines – The six-kilometer Lopez Bypass road project in Quezon province is now open to vehicular traffic, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said on Friday.

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar led the opening of the road with a ceremonial drive through with this team.

He said the opening of the new bypass road in the fourth congressional district of Quezon will ease the congestion of vehicles along the busy Manila South Road-Daang Maharlika Highway.

It is also expected to make the travel quicker and safer for people coming from the southern part of Quezon province towards the Bicol region.

The construction of the P718 million road project began in 2015. It traverses the barangays of Del Pilar, San Lorenzo, a portion of Peñafrancia, Danlagan, Bacungan, and Canda Ilaya.

Villar believes the project’s completion will fast-track delivery of government and private-led services, as well as gear improvement on residents’ living standards.

“Improving access in major roadways is a key factor in the economic growth of our country,” he said in a statement.

To provide maximum road service, the DPWH said it is undertaking construction works to widen to six the current four lanes in the 2.13-kilometer segment of the bypass road.

Duterte to use ‘extraordinary powers’ to resolve water shortage

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 29, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday (October 28) that he is prepared to use expropriation or outright police power to resolve the worsening water shortage.

“I will use the extraordinary powers of the presidency. I could not just allow people go out without water even for drinking,” he said.

The president said he is reviewing all options which can resolve the water shortage in Metro Manila and other provinces and he is prepared to expropriate or impose outright police power of the state.

This includes pushing for the Kaliwa Dam project which has been opposed by local governments and environmental advocates due to the possible flooding and displacement of indigenous people.

The president said that the local government who are opposing the said projects should put up safeguards to ensure sufficient water supply.

“It [the project] might create some danger or damage but that is not my concern. My concern is the welfare [of the people]. Ganito iyan (It’s like this): The greatest good for the greatest number,” according to Duterte.

Water concessionaires are currently implementing rotational water interruptions due to the low water level in Angat Dam.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Malacañang: Kaliwa Dam project may be cancelled if…

Marje Pelayo   •   October 28, 2019

A Filipino mother belonging to the indigenous Dumagat tribe carries a baby along a makeshift bridge over a river in the Sierra Madre mountain range, Quezon province, Philippines, 15 May 2019 (issued on 24 May 2019). EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – The government may opt to abort the Kaliwa Dam project if it leads to violation of public interest, according to Malacañang.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement on Monday (October 28) said the government is in the process of reviewing the project plan after it received several complaints regarding its implementation.

“If the findings show that it is indeed disadvantageous and against the interest of the people there, then it can be rescinded,” Panelo noted.

Nevertheless, the Palace is confident that China would understand should the Philippines decide not to continue the construction of Kaliwa Dam.

Environmental groups and local officials are opposing the Kaliwa Dam project in Tanay, Rizal citing environmental destruction and displacement of Indigenous Peoples group in the area. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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