WB finds flood control project ‘unsatisfactory’


Implementation of the massive Metro Manila flood control project funded by loans from two multilateral lenders has been slow, according to the World Bank (WB).

In a report last week, the Washington-based lender said the overall implementation progress of the Metro Manila Flood Management Project jointly led by the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority was “moderately unsatisfactory” alongside a “substantial” overall risk rating.

In 2017, the World Bank and the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) each chipped in $207.6 million in loans for this project, while the remaining $84.7 million of the $500-million total cost was shelled out by the national government.

This was the first Philippine project financed by the AIIB.

“The modernization of one pumping station, Balut, progressed well. The last new pump is being installed and the works will be substantially completed by the end of December 2020. Procurement for the modernization of Vitas is ongoing, using the innovative method of ‘design, supply and install.’ … A number of activities related to solid waste management are ongoing, including cleaning of waste from pumping stations and increased efforts to recycle waste, including plastics,” the World Bank said.

Despite the progress, especially after the stringent lockdown was gradually eased in Metro Manila, the World Bank said that “disbursements remain very low, which justifies a moderate unsatisfactory rating for implementation progress.”

To date, only $6.93 million, or 3.3 percent of the World Bank financing, was spent over two years since the loan took effect in March 2018.

The World Bank nonetheless said the progress toward achieving the project’s development objective, which was to improve flood management in selected Metro Manila areas, was “moderately satisfactory.”

By 2024, this project should make 4,900 hectares of currently flood-prone areas with 1.7 million residents in Metro Manila free of water within 24 hours following a major rainfall.

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