THE DEPARTMENT OF Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is ready to face investigations and defend the issuance of an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) to the P18.7 billion Kaliwa Dam project, an official said Friday.

DENR Assistant Secretary Ricardo L. Calderon, speaking at a briefing in Malacañang, said the ECC, which gives the green light for construction, went through thorough review and consultations.

Marami konsultasyon ang pinagdaanan at pag-aaral bago na-isyu ito ng environmental compliance certificate yung proyekto. Dumaan ito sa masusing pag-aaral ng iba’t ibang ahensya at konsultasyon (It went through many consultations and studies by different agencies before the project was issued an ECC),” he said.

The ECC was issued to the government agency Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).

Mr. Calderon added that should there be any investigation, they are prepared to face the questions.

Earlier this week, several legislators questioned the ECC issuance, raising such concerns as the government’s failure to consult indigenous people communities who will be affected by the project that is intended to serve as a new water source for Metro Manila.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate filed a resolution calling for a probe on the activities of supply distribution concessionaires Manila Water Co., Inc. and Maynilad Water Services, Inc., which he said could be another “ploy to push for the start of the construction of the Kaliwa dam that is full of anomalies and is onerously pro-China.”

The Kaliwa Dam project, to be built by China Energy Engineering Corp., is targeted for completion by 2023. It is one of the projects under the Duterte administration’s Build, Build, Build infrastructure program.

Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, in a statement on Thursday, said the DENR, through the Environmental Management Bureau, will strictly monitor MWSS’ compliance to the ECC during the dam’s construction. — Gillian M. Cortez