In a committee meeting on Wednesday, House Minority Leader and Committee on Accounts chairman Danilo Suarez pushed for the continuation of the Sumag River Diversion Project construction to help remedy the Metro Manila water crisis that has been ongoing since March 6, 2019.
Suarez said the Sumag River Diversion Project shall supplement the water coming from Umiray River going to the Angat Reservoir, which will increase the supply to the Maynilad Water Services and the Manila Water Company.
Construction of the Sumag River Diversion Project in Quezon halted in 2016 because of an accident that took the lives of six individuals who were working on the project, according to Suarez.
The Sumag River Diversion Project was discussed when the Committee on Public Accounts held a briefing on the performance of concerned agencies on water management, particularly in ensuring an uninterrupted and adequate supply and distribution of potable water.
Suarez announced to the panel that he had also relayed to former President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that he has asked the lifting of the suspension of the diversion tunnel’s construction.
“Gawin na natin itong Sumag. Ayusin na natin yung mga defects, and then let’s go to the long-range program…We are lifting the objection, so you may proceed with it,” he said, directing the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).
At 70 percent completion, Engr. Jose Dorado Jr. of the MWSS assured that if the project resumes now, the diversion tunnel will be finished before 2019 ends.
In addition, Suarez also endorsed the Kanan River Bulk Water Proposal of Energy World Corporation to provide long-term solutions to the insufficiency of water resources in the country.
He said this will be more beneficial for the government compared to the China-funded Kaliwa Dam, which he stressed will be funded on borrowed money.
“We have a private sector who is saying we can do the same with even better services and features. Hindi gagastos ang gobyerno. Kikita pa ang gobyerno. So why are we going to compete with the private sector just because we have an offer from the Chinese who say we are willing to lend you money?” he said.
Suarez added that besides supplying the country with clean water, the water project will also supply energy through hydro power.
He directed the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Development Bank of the Philippines to set a meeting with Energy World, together with Maynilad and Manila Water, to further discuss this matter.
Other House Members present in the meeting were Senior Deputy Majority Leader Rodante Marcoleta (Party-list, SAGIP), Assistant Majority Leader Rosanna Vergara (3rd District, Nueva Ecija), Assistant Majority Leader Florida Robes (Lone District, San Jose Del Monte City), Deputy Minority Leader Anthony Bravo Ph.D. (Party-list, COOP NATCCO), Deputy Minority Leader Luis Campos Jr. (2nd District, Makati City), and Senior Deputy Minority Leader Jose Atienza Jr. (Party-list, BUHAY), as well as AKO BICOL Party-list Reps. Alfredo Garbin Jr. and Ronald Ang, Wilfredo Caminero (2nd District, Cebu), Juliet Marie Ferrer (4th District, Negros Occidental), and Carlos Isagani Zarate (Party-list, BAYAN MUNA).