MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - President Aquino thanked China for the loan that it extended to the Philippines to fund the second phase of the Angat Water Utilization and Aqueduct Improvement Project (AWUAIP) of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).
Aquino attended the inauguration of the project at the La Mesa Dam portal in Lagro, Quezon City, along with Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing.
President Aquino shares the stage with Chinese Ambassador Ma Keqing during the inauguration of the Chinese-funded second phase of the Angat Water Utilization and Aqueduct Improvement Project (AWUAIP) of the MWSS in La Mesa Dam, Balara, Quezon City.
The President did not mention the country’s territorial dispute with China but stressed the importance of cooperation among neighboring countries and the importance of respecting the dignity of every person and country.
“Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa pondong ipinagkaloob ng bansang Tsina upang maisakatuparan ang mahalagang proyektong ito. Tunay nga pong sa maigting na ugnayan ng magkakaratig-bayan, mas mabilis nating natutugunan ang mga problema at mas napaglilingkuran ang ating mga mamamayan. Kaisa natin ang buong mundo sa ating adhikain: isang daigdig kung saan ang bawat indibidwal, bawat komunidad at bawat bansa ay iginagalang at kinikilalang may likas na dignidad,” Aquino said in his speech.
When asked by reporters, Ambassador Ma declined to comment on developments in the West Philippine Sea.
“Sorry, I came here just for this project. I’m not prepared to answer your questions. Some other time maybe… we’ll have [a] better discussion under better circumstances,” Ma told reporters, saying she had to proceed to another engagement.
The project, which costs P5.2 billion, was financed through a preferential buyer credit loan agreement from the Export-Import Bank of China.
China International Water and Electric Company served as the project contractor.
The project was approved during the administration of former President Arroyo under an economic partnership agreement with China.
Under the project, a new 9.9 kilometer aqueduct (Aqueduct No. 6) was constructed. The deteriorated section of Aqueduct No. 5 was also rehabilitated.
It aims to allow a more efficient delivery or flow of raw water from Angat Dam to the La Mesa and Balara water treatment plants, assuring the security of water supply for the MWSS service area.
The President said it would prevent the leakage of 394 million liters of water a day. He noted that the project was finished eight months ahead of schedule, crediting the MWSS for the efficient contract management.