Chico River Pump Irrigation Project (CRPIP)

The Cordillera Regional Project Monitoring Committee inspects the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project - Photo from National Economic and Development Authority, Republic of the Philippines

Chico River Pump Irrigation Project (CRPIP)

This research reflects information available up until June 2020, it may not reflect developments after the date of the assessment.

The Chico River Pump Irrigation Project (CRPIP) is the flagship project of the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) program. The CRPIP was conceived in 2016 to provide ample and stable water supply to 8,700 hectares of agricultural land through the construction of new diversion and canal systems, increasing agricultural productivity and benefiting some 4,300 farmers in 21 barangays (districts) in the municipalities of Tuao and Piat in Cagayan Province and Pinukpuk in Kalinga Province. The project is worth P4.372 billion (or about USD $87 million).

Project Background

The CRPIP concept has been controversial since its first incarnation in the 1970s as the Chico River Dam Project, when it provoked a strong negative response from the local Kalinga and Bontoc tribes. In 1974, it was estimated that even if only one of the four planned dams were erected on the Chico River, over 1,000 families would have been displaced by flooding. The Ferdinand Marcos government attempted to negotiate with the local communities but could not reach a settlement. The government attempted to suppress the opposition movement by force but ultimately shelved the project. The Chico River Dam Project has since been associated with the struggle of indigenous peoples to protect their ancestral lands and their way of living.

According to publicly available official sources, the project is worth P4.372 billion (about USD $87 million). According to the Philippine Department of Finance (DOF), about 85 percent of these funds, or P3.7 billion, was loaned from the state-owned China Export-Import Bank as Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) with an interest rate of two percent per annum and a maturity period of 20 years, inclusive of a seven-year grace period.

Project Structure

*No diagram and actual defined project structure listed in case study

The project may cause environmental damage, including widespread flooding, threatening the region’s rich biodiversity. According to La Viña and Reyes, the CRPIP is “development aggression at its worst … bad for nature and our people, and will result in social conflict and fuel an already intensifying insurgency in both the Sierra Madre and the Cordillera.”

The concerns raised by the affected indigenous peoples were mostly about violations of the consultation process. Republic Act No. 8371, also called the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA), recognizes the right to self-determination of the indigenous cultural communities (ICCs) and indigenous peoples. The law also provides mechanisms for the protection of their ancestral domains and the resources present therein. The affected communities must be consulted and must give their free and informed consent before projects such as CRPIP can move forward. The fact that the CRPIP construction was started ahead of the completion of the consultation process is uncontroverted.

On April 4, 2019, a group of legislators in the House of Representatives—known as the Makabayan (nationalistic) bloc—filed a petition before the Supreme Court, asking it to stop the CRPIP loan agreement with China. One of the key issues cited by the petitioners is the selection of China CAMC Engineering Co. Ltd. (CAMCE) as the project contractor. CAMCE was allegedly illegally pre-selected from among three contractors of good standing. Another issue raised in the petition was the strict confidentiality clauses in the loan agreement. The petitioners consider this specific provision a violation of the “constitutional right of the Filipino people to information on foreign loans obtained or guaranteed by the government and is considered inimical to the national interest.” There is also an express provision in the loan agreement waiving the usual arbitration rules along with the Philippines’ right of sovereign immunity.

Average Transparency Score:
2.18/6

To capture different practices, quality and level of transparency, researchers are asked to answer six related questions for each data point. 1 point is assigned for each question to which the answer is “yes.” Each data point therefore has a total score between 0 and 6, where “0” means no information was publicly available at the time of research (not transparent) and “6” means full transparency.

  • Not Transparent
  • Transparent
Project & Contract Phase Project Information Score Response Link to Information
Project Identification Project owner National Irrigation Administration (NIA) https://www.nia.gov.ph/?q=content/overview
Sector, subsector Water Resources https://www.neda.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Revised-List-of-IFPs-as-of-19-August-2020.pdf
Project name Chico River Pump Irrigation Project (CRPIP) http://car.nia.gov.ph/?q=content/chico-river-pump-irrigation-project-rises-kalinga-and-cagayan
Project Location · Municipality of Pinukpuk, Kalinga
· Municipalities of Tuao and Piat, Cagayan
http://car.nia.gov.ph/?q=content/chico-river-pump-irrigation-project-rises-kalinga-and-cagayan
Purpose Funded by a soft loan from the China EXIM Bank and to be implemented by the China CAMC Engineering Company, Ltd., the Chico River PIP aims to irrigate 7,530 hectares in Tuao and Piat, Cagayan, and 1,170 ha in Pinukpuk, Kalinga, benefitting 4,350 families. http://car.nia.gov.ph/?q=content/chico-river-pump-irrigation-project-rises-kalinga-and-cagayan
Project description

CRPIP, one of the flagship projects of the Duterte Administration under the Build, Build, Build Program, has a total budget of US PHP4.37 billion.

It is expected to provide efficient and reliable irrigation service to 8,700 hectares of riceland; 7,530 hectares of which are located in Cagayan and the remaining 1,170 hectares are in Kalinga. 4,350 farmers from 22 barangays will benefit once the project is completed.

http://region2.nia.gov.ph/?q=content/nia-and-china-camce-inks-chico-rpip-contract
Project Preparation Project Scope (main output) The project includes the construction of Pump House, Sub-Station, Transmission Line, Diversion Main Canal, Lateral Canals, Appurtenant Structures, Service/Access Road, and Terminal Facilities for CRPIP. http://car.nia.gov.ph/?q=content/chico-river-pump-irrigation-project-rises-kalinga-and-cagayan
Environmental impact

There is a threat that the project will lead to environmental degradation, including widespread flooding, and consequently contribute to disturbing the rich biodiversity in the area.

There is concern that the CRPIP will deprive some of the downstream communities of water supply and further aggravate the scarcity of water in the Chico River during summer

https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/227855-opinion-more-than-just-debt-money-kaliwa-chico-dam-series-part-1
https://www.cpaphils.org/crpip.html
Land and settlement impact During the website’s latest update, no information was available publicly.
Contact details Epifanio de los Santos Ave, Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila https://www.nia.gov.ph/?q=content/central-office
Funding sources Official Development Assistance (ODA)
Export-Import Bank of China
https://www.dof.gov.ph/download/loan-agreement-on-the-chico-river-pump-irrigation-project/?wpdmdl=23113&refresh=607d418a7f57f1618821514
Project Budget PHP. 4.37 billion https://www.nia.gov.ph/?q=content/chico-river-pump-irrigation-project-contract-gets-inked
Project budget approval date The CRPIP and its budget was approved by the Investment Coordination Committee on 28th Sep 2016 http://www.neda.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/ICC-NB-Approved-Projects-Duterte-Admin2.pdf
Project Completion Project status (current) 47% of the contract had been completed http://ph.china-embassy.org/eng/sgdt/t1791871.htm
Completion cost (projected) PHP 4.37 Billion http://car.nia.gov.ph/?q=content/chico-river-pump-irrigation-project-rises-kalinga-and-cagayan
Completion date (projected) December 2021 http://ph.china-embassy.org/eng/sgdt/t1791871.htm
Scope at completion Upon completion within three years, it will provide a stable supply of water to around 8,700 hectares of agricultural land, benefiting 4,350 households in 21 barangays in the Kalinga Province and Cagayan Province in Northern Luzon, and create hundreds of employment opportunities for the local people. http://ph.china-embassy.org/eng/zfgx/jmgx/t1567164.htm
Reasons for project changes During the website’s latest update, no information was available publicly.
Reference to audit and evaluation reports During the website’s latest update, no information was available publicly.
Procurement Procuring entity National Irrigation Authority (NIA) https://www.nia.gov.ph/?q=content/overview
Procuring entity contact details Epifanio de los Santos Ave, Diliman, Quezon City, Metro Manila https://www.nia.gov.ph/?q=content/central-office
Procurement process During the website’s latest update, no information was available publicly.
Contract type During the website’s latest update, no information was available publicly.
Contract status (current) During the website’s latest update, no information was available publicly.
Number of firms tendering During the website’s latest update, no information was available publicly.
Cost estimate During the website’s latest update, no information was available publicly.
Contract administration entity During the website’s latest update, no information was available publicly.
Contract title During the website’s latest update, no information was available publicly.
Contract firm(s) China CAMC Engineering Co. http://region2.nia.gov.ph/?q=content/nia-and-china-camce-inks-chico-rpip-contract
Contract price USD73.04 million http://www.sinomach.com.cn/en/MediaCenter/News/201806/t20180621_188354.html
Contract scope of work During the website’s latest update, no information was available publicly.
Contract start date and duration 8th March 2018 http://region2.nia.gov.ph/?q=content/nia-and-china-camce-inks-chico-rpip-contract
Implementation Variation to contract price During the website’s latest update, no information was available publicly.
Escalation of contract price During the website’s latest update, no information was available publicly.
Variation to contract duration During the website’s latest update, no information was available publicly.
Variation to contract scope During the website’s latest update, no information was available publicly.
Reasons for price changes During the website’s latest update, no information was available publicly.
Reasons for scope & duration changes During the website’s latest update, no information was available publicly.

Chico River Pump Irrigation Project (CRPIP)