Our Stories

From Project Prioritization to Linking to Finance

Naga, Philippines
August 3, 2016

CDIA Intervention: JUN/2012 – OCT/2012

Sector: Urban Renewal; Urban Transport Flood & Drainage Management; Water Supply

CDIA Support: US$ 415,600

Estimated Investment Value: US$ 63.12 million


In Naga city in the Bicol Region of the Philippines, the Naga River has been intrinsically linked with the city’s historical and cultural growth. Each year, millions of devotees gather to attend a 10-day festival honoring the centuries-old image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is transferred from one church to another via a grandiose fluvial parade passing through the historic river.

But through the years, the river has become polluted and unsafe, and flooding in the city has resulted from outfall of the drainage system into the river. Solid waste at the city dumpsite was also reaching critical proportions and the leachate run-off from the site drained into the river untreated.

In 2012, CDIA supported the city of Naga through the conduct of two Pre-Feasibility Studies (PFS) for the integrated Naga River Revitalization Project (iNRRP). The CDIA supported PFS covered eight (8) components/projects which include the Flood protection and mitigation and its extension, the Naga River Transportation, Bicol River Transportation, River Walk, Sanitation, Solid Waste Management, and Isla Sison Redevelopment.

The use of CDIA’s CIIPP Tool validated that river rehabilitation is the most urgent project, and this influenced the city’s investment and development decisions.

Response and Innovation

CDIA supported Naga City with the following:

  • Preparing a Pre-feasibility Study for the Naga River Revitalization Project (NRRP)
  • Preparing business plans for various project components for phased river revitalization
  • Linking the above-mentioned studies with potential financiers
  • Assisting the city in prioritizing between other infrastructure project
  • Providing additional PFS support on river-based transport and flood protection

After 2012, the city has rehabilitated several kilometers of riverwalk to attract tourists and enhance commercial activities, river transport was piloted to ease land traffic and provide a cheaper and alternative mode of transport, solid waste management was enhanced, and to reduce flooding, a massive investment program for dredging and concreting of riverbanks was set up.

Here are the highlights of the results from a CDIA Tracer Study done in May 2015:

  • All the projects are clearly linked to the PFS. The PFS is the main basis for the city government to access finance for the implementation of the ongoing projects.
  • The river transportation project, with a total investment cost of PHP 20 million from DILG, is complete. Five floating wharfs have been constructed, two passenger boats (of 20 seat capacity each) purchased and initial trainings constructed for the crew men. The operation permit has been granted, but the city has to pass an ordinance that would determine the boat fare.
  • The Flood protection and river walk, with a total investment cost of about PHP 651.3 million from DPWH, are ongoing. Flood protection is 45% complete, but progress on the river walk is constrained by property along the river easement.
  • One hundred ninety-nine (199) households (informal settlers), who constitute 60% of total residents along the Naga River have been relocated to more resilient communities.
  • The city is seeking 40% grant from the DPWH for the sanitation project, although the MNWD prefers investing into septage rather than a comprehensive sewerage system because of the enormous respective estimated investment cost (approximately PHP 1.3. billion).

Lessons Learned

  1. Combine and use different tools which can complement each other. The City used different tool to enhance the city’s decision making processes. Naga City primarily used the CDIA CIIPP domains for efficiency and convenience.
  2. Establish a participatory planning approach to achieve results that have stakeholder buy-in. Building investment decisions upon a city-wide participatory and multi-sectoral approach is effective and should include harmonization of guidelines, pertinent policies and ordinances.
  3. Conduct project prioritization. The city leadership in 2011 was confident that the iNRRP is a top priority of the local society. The CIIPP exercise reinforced that the iNRRP was an undisputed investment choice.
  4. Use the city’s ability to network and lobby for funding. Naga City leaders used internal sources for smaller project implementation (e.g. the river transport) and then, the PFS document to approach a congress representative who then convinced the Department of Public Works and Highways to provide funds for the riverside rehabilitation.
  5. Cooperate and compromise. Cooperating and compromising with national government agencies to fit the city plans into the national plans is very important. For instance, Naga City negotiated with the national public works agency to settle issues such as height of revetment along the river, among others.
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