MANILA - Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) administrator Reynaldo Velasco on Wednesday said the China-funded Kaliwa Dam project will only cost USD248 million and not USD800 million as claimed by Japan-based Global Utility Development Corporation (GUDC).
"Hindi po iyan USD800 million na sinasabi (It's not USD800 million). So, hindi po totoo iyong sinasabi na masyadong mahal ang ating Kaliwa Dam (It's not true that Kaliwa Dam is too expensive). Dito nakatipid tayo ng (We saved) something like PHP6.5 billion," Velasco said in a briefing in Malacañang.
Velasco said the China-funded Kaliwa Dam project is already a done deal.
Meanwhile, Department of Finance (DOF) Assistant Secretary Tony Lambino said GUDC's proposal is only limited to a weir and not a dam.
Lambino explained that a weir does not have the ability to store water and will not be able to provide water supply if there is a drought.
"Nananatiling matibay ang paniniwala ng gobyerno sa kanilang desisyon noon pang 2013 na ang pagtatayo ng dam ang tamang solusyon para matugunan ang kakulangan natin sa tubig sa mga susunod na taon (The government remains firm on its decision in 2013 that building a dam is the right solution to address the water shortage in the coming years)," he said.
Lambino also disputed the claim that Chinese Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans are more expensive than the Japanese ODA loans.
"Ito po ay hindi tama, sapagkat ang mga financing terms tulad ng currencies at maturities ng bawat loan ay magkaiba (This is not true because financing terms like currencies and maturities for every loan are different)," he said.
Lambino said foreign exchange depreciation risk and the prevailing market conditions shall be considered in each currency.
He added that ODA loans and interest rates from both countries are cheap and almost the same if converted into dollars.
GUDC has claimed that its proposal for a Kaliwa Intake Weir project would be cheaper at USD410 million.
Velasco said the construction of the Kaliwa Dam project will be fast-tracked to address the water problem in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
On Tuesday, Malacanang said the proposal offered by GUDC will be left to the ‘judgment call’ of President Rodrigo R. Duterte. (PNA)