• AIIB to approve $150M financing for MM flood project

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    CHINA-LED Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) may approve this week $150 million to finance a Philippine project to improve flood management in Metro Manila, according to the Department of Finance.

    “It seems we are already getting [the funding]soon from AIIB . . . co-financed with the World Bank. It’s for the flood control project,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd told reporters over the weekend.

    Asked if the approval will be granted this week, Dominguez replied, “I think so.”

    The Metro Manila Flood Management Project aims to build new pumping stations and supporting infrastructure. It will also modernize existing flood control facilities by improving solid waste management practices within the vicinity of drainage systems served by pumping stations. The project also involves the resettlement of affected people.

    The project focuses on about 56 potentially critical drainage areas covering approximate 11,100 hectares or more than 17 percent of the total land area of Metro Manila. This will include 2,900 hectares that will be covered new pumping stations that will impact the lives of about 970,000 people or about 210,000 households.

    According to an AIIB document, the project is estimated to cost $500 million. It will shoulder $150 million, while $150 million will come from the World Bank, $192.60 from the Philippine government and $7.4 million from Global Environmental Facility. The AIIB Board is expected to consider the project on June 16.

    The Department of Public Works and Highways, Metro Manila Development Authority, Asian Development Bank and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will implement the project.

    The Philippine government also sought from AIIB funding for the P37.76 billion EDSA Bus Rapid Transit system under co-financing a separate co-financing terms.

    The DoF had said the Philippines will tap the AIIB to co-finance two more government flagship projects—a dam for reliable water supply for Metro Manila and a railway linking the National Capital Region to Albay.

    The New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project in Quezon province is estimated to cost $374.03 million and the south line of the North-South Railway Project (NSRP) will cost $3.01 billion. Both projects have secured Chinese official development assistance (ODA), but additional funding is needed, the DoF said.

    The dam is expected to provide water security, reliability and additional supply for Metro Manila. The site-specific project will zero in on the Kaliwa-Kanan-Agos River Basin as an alternative source of water. It involves the construction of Laiban Dam at the Kaliwa River, and a smaller Kaliwa Dam downstream to maximize water supply and ensure short- and long-term supply for Metro Manila and adjoining areas.

    The NSRP south line from Metro Manila to Legazpi City in Albay will also cover a number of existing and proposed branch lines totaling 653 kilometers. It involves a commuter railway between Tutuban station and Calamba City, and long-haul railway operations between Tutuban and Legazpi. This will include long-haul rail operations on the branch line between Calamba and Batangas and an extension between Legazpi and Matnog.

    AIIB annual meeting
    Dominguez will attend the 2017 AIIB annual meeting in Jeju Island in the Republic of Korea on June 16 to 18, 2017.

    “I’m representing the Philippines . . . as director of the bank . . . So my job is to see what their plans are in the future, because right now AIIB is in co-financing only. What are their future plans for developing their own capacity?” he said.

    “Then I want to see how and what kind of conditions they will impose so that we will know whether their terms are acceptable to us as a borrower,” he added.

    Over 1,500 delegates, including governors from the bank’s membership, as well as participants from partner institutions, civil society organizations and leading experts from a range of fields will come together to think about how to build a better and more sustainable future.

    The Philippines is the latest country to join the AIIB, after the Senate ratified the membership Articles of Agreement late last year.

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