WB-backed flood project construction due in Q4

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THE bidding process for the Metro Manila Flood Management Project is set to begin next month, the World Bank (WB) said, with the construction period to start in the fourth quarter.

“The Department of Public Works and Highways has finalized the designs and design drawings for the first five pumping stations,” the multilateral lender said in its Implementation Status & Results Report dated June 20.

“Tendering is scheduled to start in July 2018, with the expectation that works on the pumping stations will start in October/November after the current rainy season,” it added.

The World Bank is co-financing the $500-million flood control management project with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Of the total project cost, the Washington-based lender and the China-backed AIIB will fund $206.603 million each while the Philippine government will cover the remaining $84.794 million balance.

The project will modernize about 36 pumping stations and construct 20 new ones, improve upstream waste catchment areas, and resettle residents — within an 11,100-hectare land area, with the project ultimately benefiting 210,000 households.

The project was approved by the government in 2012, in the wake of Tropical Storm Ondoy in 2009.

The Finance department’s earlier target was for groundbreaking in January, but the World Bank said that it is “still in too early a stage for meaningful progress,” since the loan became effective in March.

However, the lender said that an assessment of the required activities in the next seven drainage areas has started.

The World Bank has so far disbursed 0.2%, or $520,000 of the loan.

It rated the project’s progress as “satisfactory,” but had a “high” risk rating.

The Department of Finance (DoF) in a separate statement said that Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III will discuss modern project implementation methods on infrastructure projects during the AIIB Annual Meetings from June 25-26 in Mumbai, India.

The meetings will focus on infrastructure development in practical and project-driven discussions including innovative financing programs for critical infrastructure needs.

Mr. Dominguez will also “discuss the Duterte administration’s economic strategy of modernizing infrastructure and developing human capital,” at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), a nonprofit organization that develops and promotes strategies for economic growth through the use of science and technology for sustainable agriculture and rural development. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan