THE Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) said Tuesday that it submitted all but one of the required documents for its loan agreement with China to build Kaliwa dam.

The missing document for the Philippine capital’s proposed new water source, it said, was the environmental compliance certificate.

In a statement, the state water agency said government approvals for the loan agreement have been secured “in full coordination with all concerned agencies” to implement its flagship project that will ensure water security.

“The only remaining pre-condition to loan effectiveness that has yet to be submitted is the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC),” it said.

MWSS was reacting to reports from the Commission on Audit (CoA) that called for, among others, an explanation of the criteria for competitiveness on the vetting of the three nominated Chinese contractors for the project.

The government auditor also reminded the water agency that the winning contractor, China Energy Engineering Corp., should comply with the contract agreements before conducting preliminary project activities.

MWSS said it had submitted a detailed explanation from its technical working group to the auditor.

Kaliwa dam is meant to be a medium-term water source for Metro Manila, complementing the main water source, Angat dam, which supplies about 96% of the requirement. Kaliwa is expected to add 600 million liters per day (MLD) to augment the 4,000 MLD from Angat.

In November, the MWSS estimated the cost of the project at P12.1 billion, of which 85% will be funded by official development assistance from China amounting to P10.2 billion, while 15% will be shouldered by the agency.

In its statement, the agency said an environmental impact statement report is going through a second stage screening by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB).

It said public hearings have been scheduled jointly by the MWSS and DENR, which issues the certificate, on Aug. 23, 27 and 28 in Quezon and Rizal, the provinces where Kaliwa dam will be built.

“Although proceedings take time, MWSS is committed to comply with all the requirements for ECC issuance in order to ensure that the environmental and indigenous peoples’ groups will be heard and that all concerns regarding the project will be addressed,” the MWSS said.

It said all legal, financial, environmental and technical issues had been addressed in strict compliance with Philippine laws, rules and regulations, as well as the guidelines for official development assistance projects.

MWSS said the documents it has submitted include the Monetary Board approval of the loan between MWSS and Export-Import Bank of China; Department of Finance (DoF) approval-in-principle and willingness to guarantee; and DoF certification that all internal government approvals required to deliver or execute the loan agreement have been obtained. — Victor V. Saulon