A PROJECT to improve wastewater collection and treatment in catchment areas of Metro Manila is currently facing implementation delays, leading to the replacement of some sub-components, the World Bank (WB) said.
According to an implementation status and results report issued by the bank, the lender said that the closing date of the Metro Manila Wastewater Management Project was extended for two years until June 30, 2019.
The project started in October 2012, and has accomplished 68% of the objectives as of May.
The project supports investments of water concessionaires Manila Water Company, Inc. (MWCI) and Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (MWSI) — through Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) — in increasing collection and treatment of wastewater from households and other establishments in the metropolis.
Manila Water and Maynilad have accomplished 60% and 76% of the project, respectively.
According to the World Bank, the results were “adjusted to exclude dropped sub-projects and include newly enrolled MWCI sub-projects.”
“While the contract signed exceeded the project’s loan amount, the result of the sub-project assessments during the technical mission conducted in February 2018 revealed that not all previously enrolled sub-projects could be completed by June 30, 2019,” according to the report.
In compliance with the recommendation from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the multilateral lender said that is has enrolled new conveyance sub-projects in Manila Water to replace the dropped conveyance contracts in the Ilugin Sewerage System in November last year after facing delays.
“The replacement of delayed conveyance sub-projects of MWCI with fast-moving conveyance sub-projects will allow the full utilization of the loan and the achievement of project development objectives by treating wastewater in line with the PDO (project development objectives),” the World Bank said.
Some replacement projects include seven conveyance systems in the University of the Philippines/Marikina area, which were approved by LBP on May 25.
After the approval, LBP will now submit to NEDA the documentary requirements, while the World Bank will now confirm that the safeguards are in line with its policies.
The World Bank said that among concerns raised by the government include the full utilization of the loan, and the completion of sub-projects as targeted.
The multilateral lender rated the project’s overall implementation and progress towards achieving the objectives, as “moderately satisfactory,” unchanged from the previous rating.
The World Bank has so far disbursed 64%, or $175.14 million, of the $275-million loan as of May.
According to the bank, Metro Manila generates about 2 million cubic meters of wastewater daily, where only 17% of the total volume gets treated before being discharged into water channels in Metro Manila, which mostly end up in Manila Bay.
“Close supervision and monitoring of MWCI and MWSI in collaboration with LBP on the conveyance sub-projects will still be conducted on a regular basis to manage project risks or issues that may arise,” the lender said. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan