The rehabilitation of the Agus-Pulangui hydropower complex in Mindanao is one of the projects included in a second list proposed for Chinese funding, a Cabinet official said.|
Economic managers who met with Chinese officials in Beijing last August “discussed the basket of the next projects which is about 6 or 8 projects,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said.
“Among them, which is quite important to us, is the rehabilitation of the Agus River hydroelectric system,” he added.
“It looks like its only operating at 60 percent capacity. And now that we have excess capacity in Mindanao, now is the time to fix that up…”.
The Energy department has said that Beijing was offering $400 million (P20.35 billion) to rehabilitate the hydropower complex but Dominguez said the amount had yet to be fixed.
“We will have to do the feasibility study. It is quite a complex project…,” he added.
The Agus Power Plant Complex comprises six power plants from the mouth of Lake Lanao in Marawi City down to the Maria Cristina Falls in Iligan City.
The hydroelectric power plants that form the complex are the Agus I, Agus II, Agus IV, Agus V, Agus VI and Agus VII that are capable of producing 700 to 800 megawatts.
With regard to the other projects proposed for Chinese funding, Dominguez said the list was not yet final.
“What we discussed are the potential projects. We want to put about 6 to 8 projects there. It is still in the discussion stage. It is still very loose. In fact, I don’t remember all of them but definitely the one I remember is the Agus River project,” he said.
“[I]t is very important for us because no matter how much infrastructure you have, if you don’t have power it doesn’t work, right?”
Chinese officials were earlier said to have declared Beijing’s readiness to work with Manila on a second basket of infrastructure projects.
Commerce Minister Zhong Shang was quoted as saying during the meeting that that he hoped to “reach a consensus on the working level.”
“We hope that continuous progress can be made on our priority projects so that we can reach the consensus of our two Presidents and we can press ahead with our economic cooperation and trade,” Zhong added.
Philippine and Chinese officials also cited efforts to further streamline and expedite approvals of the first basket of projects.
The projects up for fast-tracking are the Binondo-Intramuros and the Estrella-Pantaleon bridges in Metro Manila; the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project in Cagayan and Kalinga provinces and the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project; two drug rehabilitation facilities; the Elevated Expressway in Davao City; and the construction of an industrial park.
Also included are the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island bridges; reconstruction of conflict-hit Marawi City, for which China has already provided a 20-million renminbi ($3 million) donation in kind; provisions under an enforcement and security cooperation agreement between the two countries; and construction of an agriculture technical center in the Philippines.