AQUINO JUNKED AN ARROYO DREDGING PROJECT AND COULDN’T REPLACE IT

Cost to nation of Aquino’s 2011 stopping of Laguna Lake project will be colossal

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RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

Second of Two Parts
IT is likely that only when Metropolitan Manila and towns near Laguna de Bay are horrendously flooded in the coming monsoon season, will we realize how stupidly arrogant and patently incompetent former President Benigno Aquino III was, and people in those calamity areas will be demanding his lynching.

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Read on and you tell me if I’m just biased and exaggerating.

Even to the end of his regime, at his last State of the Nation Address in July 2015, Aquino denigrated the P18-billion Laguna Lake Rehabilitation Project, which his predecessor President Arroyo had pushed: “Higit sa P18 bilyon ang tinangkang lustayin sa paglalaro ng putik. Di ko nga po lubos maisip kung paanong naatim ng mga pasimuno nito ang makinabang sa pagdurusa ng ating mga kababayan,” (More that P18 billion would have been wasted playing with mud in that so-called dredging project. I cannot understand how this project’s proponents could have willingly profited from the suffering of our countrymen.)

Aquino should be eating his words now.

After four years of litigation, the World Bank’s International Center for Investment Disputes (ICSID) last week handed down its decision, practically telling Aquino that he was either lying or was grossly misinformed.

The arbitral court ordered the Philippine government to pay about P0.8 billion to the Belgian dredging firm Baagerwerken Decloedt En Zoon (BDZ) which filed the suit against Aquino’s sudden, unilateral cancellation of the project just a few months after he assumed office. Aquino had claimed that it was a midnight deal of his predecessor, and that it was ridden with graft – an allegation that Aquino failed in four years to produce an iota of evidence of. Not a single official or private person has been accused of graft in connection with the project.

Real cost
The real cost to our nation will be so gargantuan that the P0.8 billion would seem peanuts. Because of Aquino’s incompetence, we do not have any project in the pipeline to dredge Laguna de Bay, which means that floodwaters that are intended to be siphoned from the streets by the pumping stations and flow through waterways can’t empty into the lake, as it has become shallow to take in more waters. If Aquino had not cancelled the project, Laguna Lake would have been dredged by end-2012.

BLAME HIM: Laguna Lake waters flooding SLEX August 2013.

The waters would therefore flow back and flood metro Manila, and even spill into the nearby towns of Laguna – as it did in August 2013 after four days of rain. Even the South Luzon Expressway was flooded then by the typhoon, cutting off the southern provinces from the center of the nation.

It was that deluge that apparently made Aquino remember that he had canceled the project that would have prevented such flooding and that he did not have his own infrastructure plan to replace it. He ordered the Department of Public Works and Highways to rush to formulate the replacement, called the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway-Dike Project.

Aquino’s project would cost P123 billion, seven times the Belgian dredging enterprise he cancelled. One main reason for this much higher cost is that, aside for its dredging component, it would have a 47-kilometer toll expressway. Why did it have to have this component?

The Aquino project could not expect any foreign funding for the enterprise, unlike the Belgian project. In fact, European nations and Japan practically blacklisted the Philippines as a recipient of similar funding for infrastructure projects because of Aquino’s unilateral cancellation of the Lake project.

With no foreign funding expected, Aquino naively thought that private companies under the so-called Public-Private Partnership Program (PPP) would totally finance the enterprise, and who would expect to get back their money plus profits from future toll collections from the expressways. I was told that Aquino’s business cronies told him that the project would be attractive if the firms that will build it would also be paid through the land beside the lake that would be reclaimed through the soil dredged from it.

Biggest PPP project
Aquino boasted in his 5th SONA in July 2014, that the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway-Dike project would be the biggest PPP project ever, and under his watch. In his last SONA in July 2015, he bragged the project will start by December.

Only in his mind. The bidding was called only in March the next year. No consortium made a bid, so the project has been officially terminated. All the media reports that there was keen interest among companies for the i project turned out to be sheer hype. Roman Azanza, spokesman for one of the consortium, said the project’s features were “too complex with too many issues unresolved by government”. Ramon Ang, the president of San Miguel Corp. that led another consortium said the project was not viable.

The two were just being polite. Sources in the consortia that studied the project said that the project “looked like something a just-graduated college student prepared”, and was “naively ambitious”. Not only that, another executive pointed out that elementary legal issues seemed to have been forgotten by Aquino’s officials, such as the fact that the Philippine Reclamation Authority had to authorize the reclamation components of the project, and the Laguna Lake Development Authority has absolute jurisdiction over the Lake, not the DPWH.

President Duterte hasn’t said a word on what he will do to dredge Laguna de Bay. I bet he will be told about it only when floods inundate metropolitan Manila and Laguna towns, when he instead will be subject of the P-word he loves saying.

Showing only that he really doesn’t know what the project is about, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar blurted a few days after he was appointed to the post: “I think they were not able to finish it [bidding of Laguna Lakeshore]. There are some minor issues [but]I think it’s doable. “

We will be lucky if a viable Laguna Lake rehabilitation project can be formulated in a year’s time, and the project completed in five years.

What an unlucky country. The suffering of Filipinos in metropolitan Manila and towns near the lake will be immeasurable if the areas are again flooded, and the cost of the disruption in agriculture and industry will be in hundreds of billions – because of the idiocy and arrogance of a spoiled brat that became our President just because he was an Aquino.

E-mail: tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
FB: Bobi Tiglao and Rigoberto Tiglao

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26 Comments

  1. Both Aquino’s horrendous traffic jams and his mother’s equally horrendous brownouts were never a mistake of public policy but a deliberate attempt of both mother and son to mistreat the Filipino people. The only reason why politicians were afraid to denounce this mother and son administration was because of their fear of Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr the Aquino patriarch who threw the grenade at the rally of the Liberal Party in Plaza Miranda in 1971. Politicians were afraid to criticize these two administrations for fear of being assassinated or thrown another grenade again at their political rally.

  2. Yes indeed Mr. Ambassador Tiglao, this animal aquino was the worst President the country ever had including his mother. All the hypocrisy of the yellow media portraying this SOB as the savior of the country were exposed with his criminal neglect of all his duties in the last 6 years. It is high time that this benigno aquino should be brought to justice. Thank you for this information Sir which is not available in the Yellow Media so far.

  3. It would help if you stopped throwing your garbage everywhere. They block the drains, culverts etc

  4. Roldan Guerrero on

    One very important thing Ambassador Tiglao should let the Filinos know is if its true that Fidel Ramos asked Digong not to pursue the crimes Aquino committed. It is very obvious that Digong is keeping his eyes closed on the abuses Aquino, LP and his YELLOWTARDS committed in their regime. Amb. Tiglao, I remember you mentioned once about this. Please let us know why are they still enjoying liberty up to now.

  5. Indeed Santa Cory and her Sinto Sinto Son Benigno Simeon are devil’s sent to make FIlipinos suffer. Ninoy Aquino despite master minding the Plaza Miranda bombing and having a hand in his staged assassination come from a bloodline of traitors and collaborators.

  6. My family and other relatives were victims of these perennial flooding in Metro Manila. Our first house thru the Pagibig fund by then MM governor Imelda Marcos in Kingsville subdivision along Marcos Highway was underwater during the Ondoy typhoon. Good thing, no one was living there because of this constant flooding. My cousin got a heart attack because his house in Marikina was also underwater. The cost of Noynoy incompetence includes the devaluation of the prices of real estate along Marcos Highway. Kawawang Pilipinas, nagkaroon ng ganitong klaseng namumuno. Ang dami namang matatalino dyan, bakit ganito ang naging presidente.

  7. renato s irlanda on

    it is common practice for a ranking government official to ride a chopper and survey the flooded metropolis after a super heavy downpour.
    well come rainy season , i am suggesting that Pres Digong ride that chopper and invite as his beloved guests Penoy and his KKK and the Hyatt 10.
    fly the chopper to its maximum allowable altitude have Penoy take a look down at the flooded metropolis, when Penoy gives his now famous sneering smirk, Pres Digong can now do his thing and kick Penoy out of the chopper.
    the KKK and Hyatt 10 passengers out of sheer fright will all quip that Penoy jumped out on his own accord. you can bet your last peso on it!!!

  8. and the North Rail project cancelled when all the beams have already been constructed along McArthur highway…..

  9. Just wondering why it is only now that you brought the issue when Aquino is no longer in office. The only thing you can do now is to blame him and it is too late as the culprit is gone. You should have done this 5 years ago. Where were you then and why you did not howl a protest about this project cancellation during that time. Well. well, well.

    • RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO on

      Because the ICSID, as objective and neutral as a judge can be, issued its decision only last week Jan 23, 2017 and we taxpayers should protest if we are asked to pay for your idol’s stupidity and hubris!

    • I can still remember reading an article about the laguna lake project written by Mr. Tiglao during Pnoy’s term. But what do you expect from Pnoy to do? He’s a brat, he cannot even say sorry even if the entire media was hitting him regarding the luneta crisis.

  10. I”m sure God loves the Philippines and all Filipinos. Nonetheless, I can’t imagine why He allowed two Aquinos to become our president.

  11. Bull Shit Aquino is like her mother cancelling a project without an alternative and the worst part is the Filipino taxpayer will suffer for paying the price like the BNPP and this new LLRP. do their supporters have shame for electing an incompetent and brainless leaders who are after profits and not the nations welfare? shame on you!

  12. There is a lesson for all of us in this. It is never elect a widow because of sympathy or because we believe her dead husband was a good man. Also never elect a family member because his mother has just died. Every time we have done this we had gotten incompetents.

  13. Yep. Thats what you get for voting an entitled rich spoiled brat to power. Now Duterte has to clean up his mess.

  14. ferdinand concepcion on

    B.S. Aquino cancelled projects left and right… w/o thinking of the consequence. This Laguna Bay dredging is one classic example. He should not have been President in the 1st place. We Filipinos can be easily swayed by sympathy and propaganda medias.

  15. MALAS, BAD LUCK, PALPAK this the legacy of the 2 Cojuangco-Aquino’s who fooled all the Filipino people into believing them.. What the 2 presented to us is disaster after disaster, failure after failure.

  16. When I was young in the early 70s, perennial flooding was the major problem every rainy season in Metro Manila. The alleged dictator, human rights violator, plunderer, etc. by the yellows solved it by dredging all rivers including parts of Laguna de Bay, removing all squatter colonies along the banks, widening and cementing river banks, installing roadways along side of many rivers, constructing river pumping stations and other related projects just to solve the flooding every rainy season. By the middle of 70s we never suffered again the flooding until the time Ondoy made many major areas of Metro Manila a sea. Thus, PGMA came with that good project of dredging again parts of Laguna de Bay.

  17. This is one of the reason why I HATE BS Aquino so much. I live in the lower parts of Metro Manila and we suffer so much from floods. I hope President Duterte and his admin prosecute Aquino and also make a solution to the flooding in Metro Manila and surrounding areas.

  18. It is sad, but we deserved what we got for electing an Aquino in sympathy to another Aquino! Unless, lessons are learned, we’ll remain an ‘unlucky’ nation.

  19. watch the youtube entitled, “Kung tinuloy ni Cory-PNoy ang project ni Marcos na Spillway di sana bumabaha sa M.Manila & S.Luzon.” Then Laguna Gov. ER Ejercito was interviewed and he said that if only former president Cory Aquino had continued the Pacific Spillway Project of Marcos, Laguna would not have been flooded.

    Now, another Aquino president (Noynoy), stopped the Laguna Lake Project of his predecessor Gloria Arroyo and if the project had been continued and completed, it would have stopped the flooding of Laguna.

    Pahamak talaga ang mga Aquino. ilang taon tayong nabola, na akala mo kung sinong mga freedom and democracy icons. Thanks to the internet at unti unti nang nabubuksan ang ating mga kaisipan kung sino ba talaga ang tunay na patriot, at kung sinong presidente ang may vision at platform of government for the Filipinos and the Philippines.

    • Leodegardo M. Pruna on

      Tama ka kaibigan. Nalinlang tayong mga Fillipino ng mag-ina at ng mga nagsipaglaro at nakinabang sa kanilang walang kakayahan mamahala ng gobyerno- and mga kasapi ng Hyatt 10 at mapagsamantalang KKK ni P-Noy. Sayang ang pagkakataon ibinigay sa kanlla upang patunayan ang kanilang pagka-nationalismo at patriosimsmo. Kaya manalangin tayo na maging matagumpay sa pagbabago ang bagong administrasyon. Pagpalain tayo at ng ating bansa ng ating Panginoon.