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Duterte admin nixes Laiban Dam project

The Duterte administration will not push for the construction of the proposed Laiban Dam in Tanay, Rizal, an official of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) said Wednesday.

MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco identified constraints in the relocation of affected families as reason for the government's decision not to give the green light to the project, which is being proposed by diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp.

"Laiban is out insofar as this administration is concerned because of the social engineering nightmare that we'll encounter in resettling 4,800 families. Almost impossible. Kaya binura na namin 'yan sa aming midterm program," Velasco said at a news conference in Malacañang.

Instead, the MWSS is keen on the proposal to build the Kanan Dam in Quezon province. The regulator is also backing the China-funded New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam project, also in Quezon, which aims to supply additional 600 million liters of water per day to Metro Manila.

The Chinese loan for the Kaliwa Dam sparked controversy, with several groups, including think tank Infrawatch PH and environment organization Haribon foundation, opposing it. The government said the Kaliwa Dam project will only cost P12.2 billion as against the P18.7-billion public private partnership scheme offered during the Aquino administration.

Talk about tapping new water sources came to the fore following the water shortage that hit the Metro Manila east zone concession area serviced by the Manila Water Company, Inc. The water shortage has affected some 1.2 million households in parts of the capital region and Rizal province. —LDF, GMA News