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Finance dep't mulls scrapping of EDSA rehab project
Jennifer A. Ng, Business World (22 Jul 2004)

MANILA, PHILIPPINES: The Department of Finance (DoF) is considering the scrapping of the PhP1.4-billion EDSA rehabilitation project due to disagreements among several agencies on its implementation.

A government report obtained by BusinessWorld stated that DoF was inclined to request the cancellation of the project's financing from the Asian Development Bank, so it could avoid paying additional commitment fees.

A source from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) confirmed that the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) has already endorsed the cancellation. "DoF may still be evaluating the endorsement. There is no word yet from DoF," the source added.

But a NEDA senior official said the government might salvage the project if it could renegotiate ADB's financing terms.

"There is no finality yet as to whether the government will cancel the project. There are initiatives to redesign the project and to renegotiate with ADB," said NEDA assistant director-general Rolando G. Tungpalan.

EDSA's rehabilitation is a component of the Metro Manila Air Quality Improvement Sector Development Program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which is funded by ADB.

BusinessWorld earlier reported that the project has been stalled because agencies could not agree on whether to use concrete or asphalt in fixing EDSA.

ADB earlier called on implementing agencies to "immediately resume the presently suspended procurement process...with its original design of asphalt concrete overlay, or request cancellation of this component from the program."

"This concrete re-blocking proposed by DPWH is economically far less viable than the original design of asphalt concrete overlay. Therefore, ADB will not be able to finance this component unless DPWH reverts to the original design...," an ADB letter to DPWH undersecretary Manual M. Bonoan read.

Earlier, DENR officials said that while there has been no Cabinet decision on the cancellation, there was an informal consensus among DENR, NEDA, Metro Manila Development Authority, nor DPWH to recommend it, so the government could save on commitment fees.

Source: http://www.bworld.com.ph

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