Just in time: A win-win Japanese offer

There are no allies in statecraft, only common interests.—Rogue Nation.

Japan is a meritocracy.

The honor code is still generally practiced in Japanese society—business, politics, diplomacy, and other social institutions, and even basic human relations.

This virtue is enshrined in the Samurai Code and the Way of the Bushido.

The principle basically states that a man must uphold, protect, and preserve his honor even at the cost of his own life through the ancient practice of hara-kiri—or the bloody and violent act of disemboweling oneself to achieve moral redemption.

Is there any other society that prescribes this extreme and ultimate sacrifice as retribution for any and all wrongdoing?

Quite decidedly, it is easier to deal or transact with people or entities steeped in ethical conduct and moral conviction.

And so it is both refreshing and reassuring to learn that our Japanese friends are renewing a decade-old offer to undertake a critical water project at this time when the country is literally drying up, and people are thirsting for water to drink, cook, clean, wash, irrigate, raise, livestock, and even generate power.

The Japanese offer provides a collective peace of mind for a people grown wary, weary, and worried about the overload of Chinese involvement—through financing, manning, and undertaking—in the country’s massive infrastructure overdrive called “Build, Build, Build” program.

Why do the people from the Middle Kingdom generate so much doubt, suspicion, and fear these days? Blame Beijing’s territorial overstretch and imperial ambitions.

A Japanese firm today revived an unsolicited proposal it first presented to the Philippine Government ten years ago for a more feasible and cost-efficient alternative to Metro Manila’s looming potable water supply problem.

Speaking at a press briefing in Quezon City, Osaka-based Global Utility Development Corp. Ltd. said it is still keen to build the Kaliwa Intake Weir project under a 25-year Build-Operate-Transfer scheme.

“Our proposal was first presented to the Government in 2009 to address the need for water in Metro Manila and it holds true today, more than ever,” said Toshikazu Nomura, GUDC Chief Executive Officer. “We propose to build a water source that not only meets the capacities needed by MWSS, but also utilizes a long-term, sustainable approach in consideration of communities and livelihoods in the area,” he said.

The GUDC Proposal.

GUDC’s alternative offer to the Kaliwa Dam project, the Kaliwa Intake Weir, was first presented in 2009 to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System to address growing demand for potable water in Metro Manila. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by both parties. GUDC again submitted the proposal in September 2017 on the request of the MWSS Board.

Under a BOT scheme, the proposal would be at no cost to the government nor require sovereign guarantees. The proposed Kaliwa Intake Weir will have a capacity of 550 MLD. It will have a 7-meter-high weir with a 16-kilometer-long tunnel that has a diameter of 3.3 meters. Already included in the proposal is the construction of a water treatment plant within the vicinity. It will have a construction period of 36 months.

“If we start by June 2019, the project can be completed within this administration,” explained Nomura.

Offering a Sustainable Solution.

Nomura says their proposal addresses the issue of the imminent inundation of Daraitan Village under the current MWSS project.

“The design of the weir and associated facilities takes a highly sustainable approach. We are conscious of lessening the impact on the surrounding communities, particularly Daraitan Village. This makes it a win-win for all stakeholders, especially the affected LGUs.”

A weir, or low head dam, is a barrier across the horizontal width of a river that alters the flow characteristics of water and results in a change in the height of the river level. This, Nomura says, is a viable alternative to building a dam and will sufficiently deliver the capacity required by MWSS.

Nomura said that he was hoping that MWSS would finally honor the memorandum of understanding it signed with GUDC in 2009.  “We are supportive of President Duterte’s vision for Kaliwa Dam. We are ready, and we are committed to delivering this project within the soonest possible time should it be reconsidered,” said Nomura.

GUDC has been doing construction and engineering projects in the Philippines over the past decade. It is currently building the 300-megawatt Calaca-2 coal-fired power plant in Batangas, and the National Network of 500-KV transmission line from Naga to Lucena-Kalayaan-San Jose.

Behold God’s glory and seek His mercy. Pause and pray, people.