MANILA, Philippines – The dam being built in Iloilo is safe and far from an active fault line, a senator assured Tuesday.
In a statement, Senator Franklin Drilon allayed fears that the P11.2-billion Jalaur River Multi-purpose Project Stage 2 (JRMP) is unsafe saying that the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) had already issued a certification stating that the area is not prone to ground rupture hazard that may be caused by the movement of an active fault line.
Quoting the Phivolcs, Drilon said that the Jalaur main dam and reservoir—the biggest dam being constructed outside Luzon—is 11 kilometers from West Panay Fault which is the nearest active fault line.
Drilon, who was among the Senators who pushed for the realization of the JRMP, noted that the distance is even farther than the distance between the Pantabangan Dam across Pampanga River in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija to the nearest Digdig Segment of the Philippine Fault Line.
The measured distances of Pantabangan Dam’s main and secondary dams to the fault line area are approximately 5.5 and 3.1 kilometers, respectively, Drilon said.
He added that though one of the project’s components, the Ulian High Dam, is located just five kilometers east of the West Panay fault, Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum Jr. guaranteed that the area is still safe from the effects of the fault line’s movement.
Meanwhile, other components of the JRMP are at a safe distance from the West Panay Fault like the proposed Albunan-Ulian Catch (11km), Jalaur Afterbay Dam (12km), Tagbacan Catch Dam (10km), Jayubo Catch Dam (9km) and the Ulian Afterbay Dam (6km).
“The Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project II is envisioned to augment agricultural production, stimulate agri-industrial activities, spur the local economy and the eco-tourism industry, increase employment opportunities and contribute to the over-all development of Western Visayas,” Drilon said.
No less than President Benigno Aquino III officially inaugurated the JRMP’s second phase last month. The JRMP is an irrigation facility which was designed to have provisions for hydroelectric power and bulk water supply. The project is augmented by an P8.95-billion official development assistance from the South Korean government through its Export-Import Bank’s Economic Cooperation Fund. Meanwhile, the Philippine government’s counterpart fund is P2.2 billion.
Some 17,000 jobs are expected to be created during the construction of the projects which is set to be finished in 2016.
Once completed, Drilon said the project will provide uninterrupted irrigation water supply to 32,000 hectares of farm land and benefit more than 783,000 farmers in Visayas.
He added that this will increase by nearly 10 percent the irrigated lands in the region and also the annual regional rice production by around five percent. Likewise, the project will also expand the production areas for sugarcane and other crops, the senator added. Kate Evangelista