Quantcast
Latest Stories

P11.2-B dam puts Ilonggos on edge

By

ARTIST’S DRAWING of the P11.2-billion dam project in Iloilo, which, when completed, will be the biggest dam outside Luzon CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

ILOILO CITY—President Benigno Aquino might not be aware of it, but the P11.2-billion dam in Iloilo he cited in his State of the Nation Address on Monday as one of his administration’s centerpiece projects has drawn warnings over its safety and environmental impact.

The Iloilo-based People’s Movement for Jalaur River (PMJR) accused the government of “cramming” the Jalaur River Multipurpose Project 2 (JRMP II) despite the opposition of affected residents and environmental risks. It “has failed to address these concerns and has even belittled or ignored warnings,” the group’s spokesperson, Grace Lobaton, said.

The PMJR is an alliance of people’s organizations, church groups, indigenous communities, environmental advocates and scientists.

During his speech before lawmakers, the President said the proposed JRMP II, the biggest dam out of Luzon, would prevent widespread flooding in Iloilo and generate an additional 6.6 megawatts to power consumers.

It would benefit 24,000 farmers from year-round irrigation, create 17,000 jobs during construction, and provide livelihood to 32,000 workers upon completion, he said.

Project funding will come from a $203-million official development assistance by South Korea through its Export-Import Bank’s Economic Cooperation Fund. The Philippines will provide a counterpart fund of P2.2 billion.

Flooding threat

Rather than prevent flooding, the PMJR cited “a very great danger that downstream communities will experience flooding once the dam is constructed.”

“[Dam] operators are inclined to keep higher levels of water as the turbines of the hydroelectric facilities operate better with higher volume of water … but [they] open the floodgates when water volume threatens to break the dam,” the group said in a briefing paper.

“When the floodgates are opened, it causes flooding in the downstream communities,” it said.

The group said the project would also dislocate thousands of Tumandok people, the largest indigenous group on Panay Island, in 13 villages, including Agcalaga, Masaroy, and Garangan in Calinog town and Tampucao in Lambunao town.

The JRMP II involves the construction of a 102-meter dam and a 6.6-MW hydroelectric plant. It is set to be completed in June 2016. It is designed to boost the production of 22,230 hectares of irrigated farmlands and 9,500 ha of rain-fed areas.

The first phase, JRMP I, was implemented from 1977 to 1983. It involved the rehabilitation of four irrigation systems, covering 22,000 ha of rice fields.

Close to fault line

MEMBERS of an environmental investigation mission conduct tests and take measurements on the project site in September 2012. PHOTO FROM AGHAM

Called for a thorough review of the project, the PMJR said the proposed mega-dam in Barangay Agcalaga was close to the active West Panay fault line, where an earthquake caused massive destruction on Panay Island in 1948.

Agcalaga and its neighboring villages are highly susceptible to landslides, Lobaton said, citing a Rapid Geohazard Assessment report of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, an attached agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

A three-member team of  Samahan ng Nagtataguyod ng Agham at Teknolohiya Para sa Sambayanan, which assessed the project site in September last year, noted geologic “joints” or fractures and movements in rock formations in the area, which, it said, could indicate weaknesses in the proposed dam’s foundation.

“Further studies are necessary to determine the feasibility of the area and the design of the dam,” geologist Adrian Raymond Fernandez said in an interview.

Phivolcs assurance

However, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has assured the safety of the site. It is not prone to the hazards of ground rapture in case of a movement along the Western Panay fault, the government agency’s director, Renato Solidum Jr., said.

But Solidum recommended the creation of a buffer zone measuring 5 meters on both sides of the fault line as a safety measure.

The main dam and reservoir will rise 11 kilometers from the fault line, while one of its components, Ulian High Dam, is

5 km away.

Mayor Alex Centena of Calinog town, the main project site, said the dam would significantly help his constituents by providing jobs and stimulating economic growth. The fourth-class municipality (annual income: P25 million to P34 million) is 53 km north of Iloilo City and has a population of 68,000.

Drilon defense

Senate President Franklin Drilon, an Ilonggo and main project proponent, has also defended the JRMP II. He said it would “improve agricultural productivity which will be Iloilo’s contribution to the rice self-sufficiency target of the government.”

“This project will increase the irrigated lands in the region by around 10 percent and the annual regional rice production by around 5 percent. It will likewise expand the production areas of sugarcane and other crops,” he said in a statement.

The PMJR is pushing for a congressional inquiry to determine the feasibility and environmental and social impact of the project. It has also launched protest actions, with the support of Tumandok communities.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: dam , environment , Iloilo , Jalaur River Multipurpose Project 2




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  2. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  7. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  8. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  9. Two Popes who would be saints
  10. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  7. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  8. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  5. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  6. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  7. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  8. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  9. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  10. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
Advertisement

News

  • Title of new Hillary Clinton book: ‘Hard Choices’
  • Filipinos, Dutch re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  • 14 killed in car bombing in Homs
  • 57-nation group plays key Ukraine monitoring role
  • French President Hollande’s top aide resigns
  • Sports

  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Pacquiao shorts in Bradley fight sold for P1.7M in LA auction
  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist
  • ‘X-men’ director accused of sex assault on teen boy
  • Business

  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Oil prices mixed ahead of long Easter weekend
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia
  • DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus
  • WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement