President Rodrigo Duterte will not allow any “onerous provisions” in any deals entered into by government including the controversial Kaliwa Dam project, Malacañang said.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this assurance following renewed calls made by the Makabayan bloc to scrap the construction of the China-funded dam as it would be “disastrous” to the government.
“I’m sure those who drafted the agreement know exactly whether or not those provisions will be disadvantageous to this government,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
“Since inaprubahan nila iyan, palagay ko nagkaroon na ng checking diyan kung disadvantageous nga o hindi (So, since it has been approved, I think they checked whether they were disadvantageous or not),” he added.
In May, the Makabayan bloc asked the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order to stop the implementation of the Kaliwa Dam project.
Panelo rejected the party-list’s claims that provisions to construct the China-funded dam were one-sided.
“Eh kung makita ni Presidenteng one-sided, di pareho rin nung sa water. Di ba, ayaw niya ng onerous provisions (If the President sees that it is one-sided, he’s going to treat it the same way he did with the water contracts. Remember, he doesn’t want onerous provisions),” Panelo said.
On Monday, Duterte said the construction of the Kaliwa and Wawa dams would be “the last resort” to ensure a steady supply of water in Metro Manila.
He ensured that the government would relocate and pay residents who may be affected by the construction of the dams.
“This will be the last resort to have water for Manila. I will order them to go ahead and we will pay the natives and we will relocate them,” Duterte said in a speech in Digos City.
Duterte also warned the courts against issuing temporary restraining orders (TROs) because he will ask government agencies not honor them.
He blamed TROs for delays in the construction of projects, saying that losing bidders simply filed for TRO to get back at the winning bidder.
“Itong korte (These courts), I’m warning the judges that be sparing about issuing TRO. Otherwise, I will publicly announce that do not follow. You follow the program of government,” Duterte said.
In October 2019, Duterte said he is considering the use of “extraordinary powers of the presidency” to fast-track the construction of the Kaliwa Dam project to prevent another water crisis in Metro Manila.
Despite opposition by groups, which claimed that the construction of the Kaliwa Dam would displace indigenous peoples (IPs), Duterte said he felt it would benefit more people.
The Kaliwa Dam project in Infanta, Quezon is funded by Chinese loans while the consortium of Wawa Dam in Rodriguez, Rizal is a joint venture of the consortium of Enrique Razon and Oscar Violago.
The two projects are expected to provide an additional 600 million liters a day (MLD) and 80 MLD, respectively, to help service Metro Manila. (PNA)