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Zarate lists 'onerous' provisions under Kaliwa Dam project deal

House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate on Saturday cited alleged "onerous" and "disadvantageous" provisions in the loan deal with China for the Kaliwa Dam project.

The progressive solon made the statement on the heels of Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo's remark that President Rodrigo Duterte is willing to review the China-funded Kaliwa Dam project if indeed there are onerous provisions in the loan contract.

“Kung makita ni President na one sided e 'di pareho din sa water concessionaires agreement na ayaw n’ya ng onerous provisions,” Panelo said.

Panelo was asked to comment on Zarate's claim that the Kaliwa Dam project was worse than the concession agreements with Maynilad and Manila Water.

With this, the Bayan Muna lawmaker said that "onerous and disadvantageous provisions of the Kaliwa Dam China loan agreement are very apparent on its face that cannot simply be ignored by Malacañang."

"Presidential spokesperson Sec. Salvador Panelo should have done some research on these onerous provisions of the China-funded dam project , especially after we exposed it early last year which also then prompted the Department of Finance (DOF) to make public the terms of the deal," he said.

The party-list lawmaker cited the following provisions of the Kaliwa Dam deal, which he deemed "onerous":

1) on Article 5.7, it is agreed upon that the Philippines or any of its assets, unless prohibited by the laws and public policies, are not entitled to any right of immunity on the grounds of sovereign or any legal process;

2) on Article 8.1, the Philippines irrevocably waived any immunity on grounds of sovereignty;

3) on Article 8.4, it stated that the agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of China;

4) on Article 8.5, it is agreed upon that Hong Kong International Arbitration Center will conduct the arbitration in case of dispute;

5) on Article 8.9, it is stated that the terms, conditions and the standard of fees of loan agreement will be confidential.

"We, along with other organizations, coalition and advocates, like the STOP Kaliwa dam coalition, questioned the above onerous provisions of the loan agreement. It would be well if Sec. Panelo can also read the petition," Zarate said.

To recall, on May 19, 2019, Bayan Muna, along with other progressive party-list groups, filed a petition before the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of the loan agreement between China and the Philippines for the construction of Kaliwa Dam.

Zarate noted that "solving the supposed water crisis in Metro Manila can be done without building a large dam near a fault line that will dislocate thousands of indigenous peoples, destroy the environment, and further bury the country in debt."

"For starters, Manila Water and Maynilad should drastically reduce their water systems loss because billions of gallons of water are wasted daily from leakages in the existing distribution infrastructure of Maynilad and Manila Water," he said.

He added that by Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System's (MWSS) own account, Manila Water's 'non-revenue water'(NRW) loss is at 11% while that of Maynilad is at 39%.

"This is around 176 million liters per day (MLD) for Manila Water and about 1,001 MLD for Maynilad. That's already 1,177 MLD lost," he said, citing a study by the consumer group Water for the People Network (WPN). —LBG, GMA News