‘Onerous’ provisions of Kaliwa dam project bared
After Malacañang’ vowed to review the terms of the China-funded Kaliwa Dam project in Quezon province, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate on Friday listed down all the provisions he considered to be “onerous and disadvantageous” to the Philippine government.The questionable terms, according to the Makabayan lawmaker, “are very apparent on its face that cannot simply be ignored by Malacañang.”
“Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo should have done some research on these onerous provisions of the China-funded Kaliwa Dam project, especially after we exposed it early last year which also then prompted the Department of Finance (DOF) to make public the terms of the deal,” he said.
Zarate was reacting to Panelo’s remark that those who drafted the agreement “know exactly whether or not these provisions will be disadvantageous to the government.”
The House deputy minority leader proceeded to enumerate the “onerous and disadvantageous provisions” as follows:
• Under Article 5.7, the Philippines or any of its assets, unless prohibited by the laws and public policies, are not entitled to any right of immunity on the grounds of sovereign or any legal process.
• Under Article 8.1, the Philippines irrevocably waives any immunity on grounds of sovereignty.
• Under Article 8.4, the agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of China.
• Under Article 8.5, the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre will conduct the arbitration in case of dispute.
• Under Article 8.9, the terms, conditions and the standard of fees of loan agreement will be confidential.
The loan agreement was only released to the public later on by the DOF due to the public outcry for transparency and accountability, Zarate noted in a statement.
On May 9, 2019, Bayan Muna along with other progressive party list groups filed a petition before the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of the loan agreement between China and the Philippines for the construction of Kaliwa Dam.
“We, along with other organizations, coalition and advocates, like the Stop Kaliwa Dam Coalition, questioned the above onerous provisions of the loan agreement. It would be well if Secretary Panelo can also read the petition,” he added.
Zarate argued that solving the water crisis in Metro Manila could be done without building a large dam near a fault line “that will dislocate thousands of indigenous peoples, destroy the environment and further bury the country in debt.”
“For starters, Manila Water and Maynilad should drastically reduce their water systems loss because billions of gallons of water are wasted daily from leakages in the existing distribution infrastructure of Maynilad and Manila Water,” he said.
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