Global Post, 9 April 2013

The Private-Public Partnership (PPP) Center, a funding alternative agency under the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), signed a contract on Friday with an engineering company specializing in the core areas of water resources engineering for the conduct of a feasibility study for the water supply and sanitation facility of El Nido town.

While El Nido is one of the country’s top tourist destinations, Mayor Edna Gacot-Lim admitted that the town suffers from a lack of water supply system and proper wastewater management facility, which could reflect badly on its tourism industry.

The scope of the feasibility study, which will be conducted by the Woodfields Consultants, Inc., will cover areas of concern like what kind of water supply system facility is appropriate for the town, where the water will be sourced and how much water the town needs.

The study will be funded by the World Bank and the local government of El Nido will not shed a single centavo for the consultation, according to PPP Center Deputy Executive Director Ferdinand D. Tolentino.

Five barangays of El Nido-the ones with the biggest number of population-will be included in the feasibility study that the Woodfields Consultants, Inc. estimates to take five months to complete.

The PPP Center is aiming to roll out the project this year so that it can start the bidding process for the project and market the partnership structure with private investors next year.

‘We are aware that El Nido faces many problems, but we can address these gradually with the help of different agencies,” Gacot said.

The signing of the contract is a follow-up to the signing of a memorandum of agreement between the local government of El Nido and NEDA where the latter pledged to provide the former with technical assistance for the development of a feasibility study for the town’s water supply facility.

The PPP Center had also conducted an initial project scoping in El Nido to determine the extent of the technical assistance it would extend to the local government and the kind of project most suitable for the community.

Tolentino said the PPP Center had also initially considered putting up a sanitary landfill in the town but after considering factors such as economic viability and the projects impact to the needs of the town, the water system and wastewater facility were given top priority.

The agreement was the first water supply-related project that the PPP Center has entered into with a local government unit.