Govt to pay up on Belgian deal scuttled by Aquino


THE Department of Finance (DOF) will review a ruling by a World Bank arbitration court that requires the Philippines to shell out P800 million to a Belgian dredging firm for the cancellation of the Laguna Lake Rehabilitation Project (LLRP) during the Aquino administration, and will pay up if needed.

“As President [Rodrigo] Duterte has said, we will always honor all our obligations. So we are reviewing the decision and as soon as we finish the review—if our review indicates that we should pay, we will pay,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said.

The Manila Times columnist Rigoberto Tiglao broke the news of the January 23 decision of the World Bank’s International Center for Investment Disputes (ICSID) that found that President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s unilateral cancellation in 2011 of the P18-billion flood-control project, awarded to Belgium’s Baagerwerken Decloedt En Zoon (BDZ), was illegal and unfair.

“We just got the documents a few days ago so we’ll go over it carefully and we’ll see what legal remedies there are. If we have to pay, we will pay,” Dominguez added.

The project could have reduced flooding in Metro Manila by 2012, the target completion date, and would have required little cash outlay from the Philippine government as BNP Paribas was willing to provide financing, Tiglao noted.

Tiglao, who served as Palace spokesman during the Arroyo administration, pointed out that taxpayers would be made to unjustly pay for the scuttled deal when it was Aquino’s sole decision, borne out of “his irrational, apoplectic bias that everything his predecessor President Arroyo, did or planned was corrupt.”

Tiglao noted that the 150-year-old BDZ was “one of the biggest and most respected firms in the dredging industry,” and no less than Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme vouched for the project’s integrity.

Aquino’s decision was executed by his Finance secretary, Cesar Purisima, who refused to sign Belgium’s P7-bilion grant for the project.

Dominguez noted that the Philippines had a record of paying up for costly decisions made in the past.

“We have a track record of doing that,” he said, referring to the government’s payment of P20.475 billion to Philippine International Air Terminals Co. Inc. (Piatco) following a Supreme Court decision voiding the contract to build the Ninoy Aquino International Airport terminal 3.

The Laguna Lake project was designed to save the polluted freshwater lake and would have dredged it of 4.6 million cubic meters of silt and waste so it would contain more floodwaters.

The project would have also involved the deepening of the critical 7-kilometer Napindan Channel in Taytay, Rizal to allow it to more quickly draw floodwaters away from the metropolis to the lake.


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  1. I wonder if an out-of-court settlement can be made and the Belgian company can still do the Laguna project (which is still needed) or any of the 4 new dredging plans of the Duterte admin. But maybe the Belgian company would not want to have anything to do with the Philippine government after its unpleasant experience with Pnoy.

  2. Please Pinoys` don`t brig this liberals back to power ever again, if you see remnants joining in other party MARK X right away in the ballot……..

  3. Hindot! Naloko na tyo, dapat pabayaran yan kay Pnoy, Roxas at Kay Kris AQUINO. Baka may natira pa sa Dap/Pdaf/Yolanda Funds at sa drug protection ni De Lima.

  4. aside from making aquino pay the penalty, the gov’t should talk with the belgians and have the project revived. maybe the belgian company, if asked to proceed with the project, would opt out of the penalty. BAKA LANG NAMAN. BESIDES THE PROJECT WAS NEEDED 6 YEARS AGO AND STILL NEEDED NOW.

  5. yan ang napala natin sa taong ampaw at obob! ang perang pinaghirapan ng taongbayan mapunta lang sa walang katuturan imbis na ipagawa sana ng mga public hospital,mapakinabangan sana sa mga mahihirap!

  6. A lot of these high ranking government officials fail to understand that a contract is legal and binding agreement between two parties and can be enforced internationally. Paying out almost P20.5 Billion to Piatco and now, another P800 Million because of the screw-ups of previous administration. The government should send this bill to former President Aquino, and most likely, his personal assets should exceed over two billion pesos and giving back to the government P800 Million, as form of payment should not be an issue.

  7. If this happened in Japan, the official who made it happen would, to save face, commit the best thing to do – harakiri. Here, our officials are thick faced, which some attributes to as cowards. More particularly if the official is gay.

  8. Why not garnish the P800 million from Hacienda Buisita assets to cover the payables to the Belgian BDZ since it is the “irrational, apoplectic bias” of the sitting BS ng Bayan from 12 noon, June 30, 2010 to 12 noon, June 30, 2016 who caused the stupid unwarranted indebtedness ?

  9. All the Aquinos did was to waste taxpayers money. Here we go again, just like the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.

  10. Mukhang napabilis ang diskarte ng nakaraang admin. $16 million ang multa. Ph taxpayers na naman ang babayad.

  11. What have we come to know pf PNoy but a very vindictive president! He’s a darn hypocrete and was just lucky to be president because of the emotional advantage due to the death of Cory which was media supported. What a watse of 8 long years! Thank goodness you don’t have any tribe to increase because you’re gay!

  12. and again the public pays for the stupidity of the former president. why isn’t he in jail yet?