QUEZON CITY — The first phase of the circumferential expressway project along the shores of Laguna Lake covering Metro Manila and the provinces of Laguna and Rizal has been up for bidding but no one showed up with their bids last week.
Worth P123 billion, the road project will also be a flood control, agriculture, industrial and residential water supply project which is envisioned to boost economic and tourism growth within the region.
It was gathered that the project is facing many issues aside from its big cost, discouraging the bidders to submit their bids.
Observers believe that the investors may have wanted to hedge and wait until the May 9 presidential congressional and local elections are over.
President Benigno S. Aquino III has ordered the creation of an Inter-Agency Technical Committee (IATC) that will ensure proper implementation of the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project (LLEDP), prompting fishermen and residents of the area to protest.
In an Executive Order No. 202 signed on March 22, President Aquino said the committee shall be composed of technical representatives of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) and the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA).
He said the IATC will assist the DPWH and LLDA in resolving issues arising from the project implementation.
Fisherfolk from the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) and Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) stormed the submission of bids for the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project (LLEDP) to try to derail the project which they said would be deadly to the lake and those depending on it.
“(It will) ensure that all aspects of the LLEDP, including the relocation of the LLEDP-affected inhabitants, waste management, reclamation, environmental protection, property development and construction are consistent with the requirements of all applicable laws, rules and regulations,” the President said.
The Chief Executive also directed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to reclassify portions of the land to be reclaimed as alienable and disposable land of the public domain in compliance with applicable laws, rules, regulations and procedures.
This is in line with EO No. 292, otherwise known as the Administrative Code of 1987, providing that the DENR shall have exclusive jurisdiction over the management and disposition of all lands of the public domain and shall be the sole agency responsible for the classification of lands.
The P123-billion Expressway Dike is the biggest public private partnership (PPP) project under the Aquino administration.
The project will provide a high standard highway with a dike that will ease traffic flow and mitigate flooding in the western coastal communities along the Laguna Lake. The highway will run from Taguig in Metro Manila through the towns of Calamba to the Los Banos Bay boundary in Laguna.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board has approved the Expressway Dike project to be implemented by the DPWH and the LLDA as the cooperating agency under a PPP scheme pursuant to the Build-Operate-and-Transfer (BOT) Law.