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Belgian firm abandons PH operations

Manila, Philippines – Baggerwerken Decloedt en Zoon (BDC), the Belgian company that proposed the P18.7-billion Laguna Lake Rehabilitation Project (LLRP), is shutting down its Philippine operations.

A top BDC official said he was packing his bags and flying out, weeks after the company formally filed a P4-billion damage suit against the Aquino government before the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

The company is also seeking payment of P500 million for its work on the Pasig River Rehabilitation Project (PRRP) that was finished in September 2010 two months ahead of schedule.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Belgian executive said the top management of the Brussels-based, 150-year-old company came to the conclusion that “it would be impossible to do business in the Philippines since it is ranged against the government before ICSID.”

The ICSID based in Washington D.C. ruled thrice against the government, mostly in cases involving foreign investments in the power sector.

Other companies from member-countries of the European Union (EU) are said to be on the verge of following BDC’s lead. (Marvyn N. Benaning)