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What is the Kaliwa Dam project?

The China-funded Kaliwa Dam project, which will be constructed along Rizal and Quezon provinces is seen to augment the water supply from Angat Dam.

The Kaliwa Dam, which has a height of 60 meters, is expected to put an end to water shortages in Metro Manila since it will provide additional 600 million liters of raw water per day.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) already issued the Kaliwa Dam project with an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).

The ECC is one of the requirements for the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and China Energy Engineering Corp. to proceed with the 12.2 billion peso project, including a free prior and informed consent from the indigenous people.

According to the DENR, the ECC was issued by the Environmental Management Bureau to the project after it satisfied the requirements of the Environmental Impact Statement System.

However, the Commission on Human Rights allegedly said there might have been a fake consultation and approval from the affected indigenous communities.

At stake

The project would submerge parts of General Nakar and Infanta in Quezon Province. It would also affect the Sierra Madre in Tanay, Rizal, some groups claim.

The Haribon Foundation said the town of Infanta, which is a delta or a landform created by deposition of sediment, might be erased from the map if this project pushes through.

But the MWSS said they will provide housing and other resources for the indigenous people who will be affected.

Environmental groups also said the flooding caused by the project will displace and kill species that live in the area.

But President Rodrigo Duterte said he is ready to use expropriation or the police power of the state to put an end to water shortages, even if the environment is at risk.


In 2014, the Kaliwa Dam project was initially rolled out as a PPP project, with two qualifying bidders — SMC-K Water Consortium (San Miguel Holdings Corp. and Korea Water Resources Corp.); and the Abeima-Datem Consortium (Albeinsa Infraestructura Medio Ambiento S.A and Datem Inc.)

The project involved the development of a new water source to meet the increasing water demands by constructing a redundant dam for Metro Manila's domestic water supply.

The government, however, under the administration of Duterte, in March 2017 chose to instead push through with the project under an ODA scheme.

In 2017, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III signed a financing agreement for the project in which China would provide soft loans estimated at $234.92 million covering Phase 1-Kaliwa Dam, and Phase 2-Laiban Dam.

The final loan agreement was scheduled to be signed by government officials of both the Philippines and China in November 2018.

The project, however, has been met with opposition as community groups said over 14,000 households of mainly indigenous peoples would be displaced.—LDF, GMA News