The conglomerate Ayala Corp. gave its unit Manila Water Co. Inc. the go-ahead to diversity into water projects outside its concession area in Metro Manila, a company official said.
The first new projects will be in Metro Cebu and Bulacan province, south of Manila, according to Manila Water Chief Financial Officer Sherisa Nuesa. The company will eventually take over the P2-billion bulk water supply project in Metro Cebu, called the Carmen bulk water supply project. Nuesa explained that this is the first major surface water source project for Metro Cebu and it will increase the water supply in the metropolis in the central Philippines by 35% to 50,000 cubic meters a day.
The project resulted from an unsolicited proposal submitted to the government by Ayala Corp. in joint venture with Stateland Inc. “Ayala Corp. will hand over the reins of the Carmen project to Manila Water,” Nuesa said. “The terms of reference have been approved by the Manila Water board of directors.”
The Investment Coordination Committee of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has given the first-pass approval for the bulk water supply project in Metro Cebu under a build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme, she added. The project will now be subjected to a Swiss Challenge, according to the NEDA Public Investment Staff.
“Unsolicited BOT proposals undergo the Swiss challenge as a rule of engagement to verify if what were specified in the proposal were the true fixed and variable costs in implementing the project,” a NEDA technical working group official said.
The project will involve the development of the Luyang River and treat the water for delivery to residents of Metro Cebu. Dependent on ecologically unsound deep wells, residents have long awaited the project.