(UPDATED) AMID the public uproar generated by the Senate investigation on the scrapped national broadband network (NBN) project, the government has put on hold 11 official development assistance (ODA) projects worth around P104.34 billion that it intends to fund.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has directed the suspension of the said projects that have yet to be bound by formal agreements. “Unless the project has been consummated, meaning it’s been signed, the general rule is we will fund these projects with locally generated funds,” said press secretary Ignacio Bunye.

The projects include the controversial Cyber Education Project, extensions of the Light Rail Transit, and the South Rail Project, which was allegedly overpriced by $70 million, according to Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr., key witness in the Senate’s probe on the NBN deal.

New Communications, Navigation, Surveillance,
and Air Traffic Management Systems Development Project
P2.64 B
Regionalization of Mental Health Services
P1.32 B
Redevelopment of Tacloban Airport (Trunkline)
Development Project
P1.12 B
Construction of Elementary and Secondary Classrooms
in Acute Shortage
P45.67 M
Cyber Education Project
P26.48 B
Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 Extension
$683 M
Mainline South Railway Project
P15.30 B
Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 2 Extension
P10.33 B
LRT Line 1 North Extension
P5.98 B
Bataan Manila Pipeline Project
$180 M
Angat Water Utilization and Aqueduct Improvement Project
P5.75 B

However, the list does not include 21 projects that the National Economic and Development Authority says has cost the government an additional P36.8 billion due to delays in their implementation. The price of China-funded Banaoang Pump Irrigation Project alone has been hiked by over 92 percent, from P1.3 billion to P2.54 billion.

See the list of all foreign-assisted projects with cost overruns as of July 2007.

A three-part PCIJ investigative report on ODA last week found that the sharp surge in assistance in recent years has not only sparked scandals and allegations of corruption, but threatens to drag Filipino taxpayers deeper in debt.

The avalanche of ODA loans, particularly from China, has worried economists who note how the government is becoming lax in project evaluation because the loans are supply-driven. Former budget secretary Benjamin Diokno cited the Cyber Education Project as one of doubtful social or economic value as it assigns more weight to information technology than to the training of teachers, which studies have shown to have a greater impact in improving student performance.

The PCIJ report pointed out that NEDA and its project evaluation process have been weakened and violated by pressure from lobbyists and political sponsors of some projects. Further, it showed how the absence of caps on bids, tied loans and conditionalities of lenders have favored foreign contractors and triggered cost overruns and project delays.

As a result, seven in 10 of the ODA projects that the PCIJ reviewed have failed to deliver the promised economic benefits, and now posit to exacerbate the nation’s debt burden.

For this reason, groups led by the Freedom from Debt Coalition are urging an independent audit of loan-funded government contracts.

“A government that places (the) highest priority on debt service and fully dependent on heavy borrowings is even more vulnerable to wrong priorities, fixated with chasing after ‘foreign-assisted’ projects, and driven by external funding,” the groups said in a statement.

9 Responses to 11 ODA projects put on hold



February 19th, 2008 at 11:59 pm

Beware of Communist China and corrupt businessmen from the Philippines (in government and private sectors).


They are all about me, me, me.



February 20th, 2008 at 7:42 am

How can the People’s Republic of China or PRC, or Communist China as ryebosco calls it, win business?



February 21st, 2008 at 11:52 pm

Ang Bayan Kong Sawi

Ang kapaligiran ay samu’t-sari ang kulay,
Pula ,Puti, , itim, dilaw, kayumanggi, luntian
Subali’t ang pananaw daw ay dalawa lamang
Itim at puti walang kulay anuman sa pagitan.

Madalas kumatha ng ideyang kulay abuhin
Sa PCIJ website hinahayaang bayan ay aliwin
Maraming patutsada narining at pasaring
Pro-GMA daw dahil hindi naman pro-Ouster.

Ang bayan ay Malaya hindi dapat magdamdam
Tapat na pananaw ng iba dapat igalang
Kung hindi matarok senisado ng puti’t itim
Isaysay at dalisayin penumbrang abuhin.

Si GMA ay wala na pagdating ng 2010
Subalit’ dapat na daw ngayon na patalsikin
Proceso ng bansa dapat shortkatin, apurahin
Bayan bagsak na sa katiwaliang nakakarimarim.

Pag-ikaw kumontra sa ganuong patutsada
Dating mo taksil, lilo, sukab at bayaran ka
Bansa ay dapat umaksyon at ito ngayon na
Sa kalsada tapusin mga salot at sukab ng bansa.

Institusyong sibil ay hind dapat shortkatin
Hayaang pondasyon lumakas at tumining
Huwag magsagawa anumang “political lynching”
Sa kalsadang parliyamento, bansa masusugatin din.

Bakit ba sila atat na atat, na Si GMA ay umalpas?
Lutang ba ang pulitiko’t banyaga ang nasa likod ng lahat?
Para ang ODA at ZTE projects nasa “freezer” ay ma “thaw”
At maisulong din pagnanakaw ng mga kapwa buwakaw.

Bayan kung ako ay taksil ako’y parusahan
Itali sa puno hagupitin at sa hamtik ay ipaulam
Itabo ang dugo at sa dugo mo ihambing ang kulay
Paghindi magkasingkulay, isa sa atin taksil sa bayan.

I wrote:

Lack of Alternative

It is the quality of our electorate as well as the flaw in ourelectoral process that prevented us most of the times to elect decent public servants. The other factor that leads to the election of unworthy public servants is the lack of alternative choice from those people who offered their services to become public servants during elections.

The May 2007 midterm elections of Congressmen, Senators
and local officials offer an uneasy paradox of how people of diverse and conflicting political or personal persuasions can make temporary alliances for a united ticket to improve their chances of being elected to the positions they are running for only to bolt the alliance after elections and go their own
destructive separate ways.

Political parties are never defined by a distinct set of political beliefs and economic platforms that distinguishes one from the other. They are hodge-podge of non-partisan or overly partisan individuals fueled purely by personal ambition and offering their individual wisdom or lack of it as the complete
recipe for the salvation of the nation.

Microsoft Encarta describes political parties in the
Philippines this way:

Political parties in the Philippines are extensions of the key politicians who control them, rather than institutions focused on particular ideologies or political viewpoints. Political loyalties are given to individuals, and rarely to the parties. Politicians often switch party allegiances for personal party allegiances for regional advantage.?

(pp.145-146, “Termites from Within”)


tongue in, anew

February 22nd, 2008 at 2:29 pm

Re: “The price of China-funded Banaoang Pump Irrigation Project alone has been hiked by over 92 percent, from P1.3 billion to P1.24 billion.”

Pls. check the numbers, thanks.


tongue in, anew

February 22nd, 2008 at 3:00 pm

Average project cost overrun based on your list is at about 35%. If this happened in my company I’d fire all my managers.

Oh yeah, the ADB and World Bank studies did say kickbacks in RP projects are about a third of the winning bidder’s price. Confirmed by Ombudsman Gutierrez, no less, in 2005 that P300B of P1T gov’t budget went to corruption.

Total money wasted = (30% + 35%)P1T = P300M + P350M = P650M

P650M of P1.35T means one half of government expenditures go to the pockets of a select few. Sobrang garapal talaga. Kaya pala ang “moderate greed” for government people is something like 22% according to Lozada.

Pagtatagalin pa ba iyan?


Isa Lorenzo

February 22nd, 2008 at 3:10 pm

Hi Tongue,

The P1.24 B was the 92 percent increase. The corrected sentence now reads:

The price of China-funded Banaoang Pump Irrigation Project alone has been hiked by over 92 percent, from P1.3 billion to P2.54 billion.

Thanks for pointing that out.


tongue in, anew

February 22nd, 2008 at 5:02 pm

But you mistyped it to P1.54. Heheh. Just correct it and delete this and the 2:29 comment.



February 24th, 2008 at 2:42 am

Well Kababayans, Kickbacks and corruptions in the Philippines will never stop. Why? Because the no.1 problem is the system of government. It doesnt matter who runs the country, after the fall of Marcos, Did the country move forward? Definitely NOT! And I think its even sinking more. These govt officials have to think of ways to get back the money they spent during election campaign. A senator who would spend 100mil pesos or more, with a monthly salary of what, maybe 50k. So you do the math..A big minus sign right?? But if he is wise or crook, only 3 months he`ll get it back with profits..Thats why there are kickbacks and corruptions. And also never mix POLITICS and RELIGION.
Religion = Peace.. Politics = War. Just my 5cents


Bruce in Iloilo

February 24th, 2008 at 10:02 pm

Don’t you love government planning? The bureaucracies are so competent, don’t you think? Personally, I loved the bit about some of these projects in the investigative report having a NEGATIVE return. The government cost us money. Typical. Governments everywhere are the same — they are overhead, leeches. They do little more than suck on the economic life of the country, getting fat, while we pay their bills.

Economic progress does not come through government intervention or 5-year plans. Economic progress does not happen because of ODA loans or projects. Economies grow because private individuals figure out a cheaper, better, more efficient way to do X. In other word, by rising productivity. The only brights spot in the report were roads, and then it wasn’t too bright. Roads are one of the few areas where governments might be more useful, if they can keep their grubby hands off the contracting. Leave it to private companies to decide whether to risk the capital but have the governments, perhaps, involved a bit in the planning. Leave everything outside of roads to the private sector. Let private individuals waste their money; stop the government from wasting ours.

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