Palace: Duterte can still stop Kaliwa Dam — if there’s fraud
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte could stop the construction of the China-funded Kaliwa Dam project in Tanay, Rizal — but only if it would be found that fraud was involved in entering the deal.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo issued the statement after Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Reynaldo Velasco said the project was already a “done deal.”
The Kaliwa Dam, which is seen to address water shortage in Metro Manila, is funded by China’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the Philippines.
Environmental groups, the Catholic Church, and local officials have objected to the project, saying that it would displace the indigenous people in Tanay and would have an adverse effect on the environment.
“Of course, the President can stop anything, unless na ano may kontrata na nagpirmahan na. Baka may impairment of obligations sa contract. Pero pwede pa rin if there was fraud in entering it. Pwede pa rin,” Panelo told reporters in Malacañang.
[Of course, the President can stop anything, unless there’s a contract that has already been signed, as there might be an impairment of obligation in the contract. But he can still stop it if there was fraud. It can still be stopped.]
“Tuloy pa rin siguro yun, until siguro pag may na-discover ako na anomalous,” he added.
[So it seems the project will push through until maybe something anomalous is discovered.]
Following the water shortage in Metro Manila, Japan-based Global Utility Development Corp. (GUDC) asked Duterte to consider its proposal of constructing a safer and cheaper dam on Kaliwa River.
“Me, personally I want to look at the proposal of the Japanese firm,” Panelo said.
He said the Kaliwa Dam project would push through “unless it’s stopped by the President.”
“I will have to study,” he added. “Saka ire-refer ko sa mga experts — yung mga nakakaalam, nakakaintindi.”
[And I will refer it to the experts — those who know and understand.]
Panelo said he would ask the National Economic and Development Authority for “expert opinion why they prefer the Chinese over Japanese.” /atm