The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) on Wednesday admitted that it has yet to acquire documents needed for the Kaliwa Dam project to proceed.
MWSS Chairman and OIC Administrator Reynaldo Velasco said that the agency has yet to be issued the Special Use Agreement in Protected Areas (SAPA) and the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) for the project.
The SAPA will be issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) while the FPIC will come from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).
"Hopefully, in due time, makukuha na rin namin (we will get these papers)," Velasco said in a phone interview.
He confirmed that without these documents, the huge project will not push through.
Earlier this month, the MWSS said it has yet to start the dam's construction.
Velasco also said that the cutting of trees is inevitable.
"Hindi pa kami nagka-cut, nagtatanim na kami para i-account na nila iyan na pambayad namin doon sa puputulin naming (we have not cut a single tree but we have started planting trees as payment for those that will be cut). I think last year, we already planted about 200,000 trees," he told The Manila Times.
The dam will be constructed in the provinces of Rizal and Quezon.
The Commission on Audit earlier flagged the MWSS for its failure to present proof of compliance with environmental prerequisites and permits.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources had directed the MWSS to submit approved reforestation program, waste management plan, integrated watershed management plan, comprehensive social development program, ancestral domain and cultural heritage sustainable development plan, and cultural heritage protection plan.
Several indigenous groups have opposed the project.
Joan Jaime of the Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas said that the dam will destroy the way of life of indigenous peoples whose ancestral domain will be taken in the construction of the dam.
Haribon Foundation has proposed that instead of building a dam, the government should conserve watershed areas.
It said that the restoration and conservation of watershed areas will ensure continuous water supply for Metro Manila and nearby provinces.