Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Belgian government slaps P800 Million Fine to Aquino Administration for breaching Laguna Lake Project




Benigno Aquino III / Photo from Inquirer News
For deliberately breaching the contract on the Php 18.7 Billion Laguna Lake Rehabilitation Project (LLRP) in 2011, Philippine government is reprimanded to pay P800 Million to Baggerwerken Decloedt En Zoon (BDC), as ordered by the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

The demand to pay was released only six (6) years after the then President Noynoy Aquino SCRAPPED the deal that had been considered as ‘legal and binding’ twice by former Justice Secretary Leila De Lima.


Former Justice Secretary Alberto Agra came as witness to authenticate the contract between BDC and the Arroyo administration courtesy of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

BDC’s supposed proposal was to excavate Laguna de Bay and deepen its 2.5 – meter depth to comply with the minimum standard of 2.8 meters depth appropriate for water purification. It also crafted navigational waterway to expand its water – holding capacity flowing from an estimated 100 creeks and rivers combined from Sierra Madre, Quezon Province, Rizal, Cavite and Laguna.
Benigno Aquino III / Photo from LuisTeodoro.com
Belgian executives estimated that LLRP could be paid in 9 years – time and worked on securing 37.4% budget from a Belgian export agency with a portion covered by Brussels’ Official Development Assistance (ODA) scheme with additional funding from BNP Paribas.

However, despite obtaining support from Belgian King Albert himself, Aquino simply did not agree to the proposal even characterized the project as merely transferring the lake’s deposits from one part to another.

The ICSID tribunal came in favor of BDC on January 23, 2017 saying that the 150 – year old dredging company was the AGGRIEVED party in this case. BDC felt the necessity to sue the Aquino Administration before ICSID in April 2011 with at least P6 Billion worth of damages.
Benigno Aquino III / Photo from GMA Network
The Aquino administration FAILED to explicate to the Belgians the reason behind LLRP’s furtive and hurried resolution despite the Belgian counterpart’s appeal to proceed with the project.

On Business Mirror’s February 2017 write up, “BDC spent close to P400 million to undertake studies on the lake, including its water quality, its geology and geomorphology, the species still existing in the lake, and the social and economic impact of the LLRP.”

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