By Juzel L. Danganan
MANILA, July 22 (PNA) – The government has allocated Php 1.08 billion for the rehabilitation of the 40-year old Angat Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan.
In a statement, the National Power Corp. (Napocor) said a briefing at the Angat Dam Wednesday “has likewise enlightened the public on the national government’s allocation of Php 1.08 billion to upgrade related components downstream of Angat (Bustos dam), and Php 553 million to upgrade flood forecasting and warning system and conduct flood control protection works in Bulacan towns.”
The Angat Dam, which supplies most of Metro Manila’s water supply, has been visited by President Aquino Wednesday, along with Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson.
President Aquino said that the objective was to stabilize the dam and dike to withstand earthquakes even reaching a 7.2 magnitude quake or the strength of the last devastating Bohol quake.
The officials were briefed by San Miguel Corp. President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Ramon Ang, Angat Hydropower Corp. (AHC) President Geung Jeon Hang who is also from Korea Electric Power Corp.
Metro Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Gerry Esquivel also briefed the official.
San Miguel owns 60 percent stake of AHC, while KEPCO has a 40 percent stake.
K-Water, with USD 439 million offer, outbid San Miguel’s USD 312.5-million bid in 2010.
The Angat Dam was proposed to be rehabilitated after fears of the announced “killer earthquake”, which might hit a large fraction of Luzon. It will be led and funded by AHC, which was formerly estimated by MWSS at Php 5.7 billion.
Gladys Cruz-Sta, Rita, Napocor president and chief executive officer (CEO), also gave a briefing for President Aquino on its watershed management roles.
She cited a report, from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB), that the Angat Watershed Reservation is one of the remaining well-forested watersheds in the country.
Officials present from the Department of Energy (DOE) are Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Secretary Zenaida Monsada and OIC President Lourdes Alzona from the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM).
Local official from Bulacan also attended the event, headed by Governor Willy Alvarado and 3rd District Representative Joselito Mendoza.
Last June, Ang said that consulting-firm Poyry Public Limited Company (PLC) will finalize its recommendation soon for Angat’s rehabilitation, which will be followed by the contractor’s awarding.
He added the rehabilitation will include dam strengthening, but added it could only minimize the risk for the expected massive Luzon earthquake and not prevent it.
Ang stressed strengthening the dike now will further fortify it in the future. (PNA)