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Public Works dep't granted renewed access to ADB loan
Jennifer A. Ng,BusinessWorld (13 Aug 2004)

MANILA, PHILIPPINES: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has lifted the suspension of disbursements from a $167-million loan allocated for a national road network project.

In a letter to the Department of Finance (DoF), ADB director Patrick Giraud said the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) may start making withdrawals from the loan account for the Sixth Road Project.

"By letter [dated] 21 July 2004, ADB advised the Department of Finance of its decision to lift the suspension of the rights of the DPWH to make withdrawals from the loan account for [the] first batch of six road improvement civil works contracts," Mr. Giraud said in the letter.

The multilateral funding institution also said it will soon lift the suspension on nine civil works contracts as soon as the DPWH complies with conditions laid down. These mainly concern the substantial completion of compensation for structures and the submission of an updated land parcel survey.

But while the ADB has already lifted the suspension of loan disbursements, a source from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) said the DPWH has yet to indicate whether it intends to continue tapping the ADB loan. The ADB loan for the Sixth Road Project is set to expire this September.

The ADB suspended disbursements for the Sixth Road Project on June 1, 2003 following unresolved right of way and settlement policy issues between the funding institution and the government.

A source from the NEDA earlier said the DPWH and the ADB could not agree on how to operationalize their respective guidelines for resolving right of way and resettlement issues.

The ADB approved the loan in September 1996. The project seeks to improve about 840 kilometers of national roads in Luzon, Masbate, Mindanao, Palawan and Panay.

It also includes the rehabilitation and structural overlay of about 800 km. of national roads in Cebu, Luzon, Masbate, Mindanao, Negros, and Panay; replacement, repair, and retrofitting of bridges on national roads in Luzon, Mindanao, and Panay; and capacity-building for bridge design, road safety, highway planning, routine road maintenance, road resealing training, technical pavement investigations, project coordination and monitoring.

The project is expected to make the movement of passengers and freight more efficient since the scope of work will be done mostly in less developed areas.

Copyright ©2004 BusinessWorld Online, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

http://bworldonline.com/current/TheEconomy/ecostory6.html

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