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Arroyo dam project in Camarines Sur still a go

/ 10:32 PM September 10, 2011

NAGA CITY—The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) is pushing for the resumption of the controversial Libmanan-Cabusao Dam (LCD) project in Malaguico, Sipocot, Camarines Sur, based on a new study it has submitted to the National Economic Development Administration (Neda).

NIA Deputy Administrator Democratico Grana said last week that at least P700 million of the original budget of P1.9 billion has been obligated for the project.

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“In the revised project study the cost of the dam project has been pegged at P1.4 billion or at a cost reduction of 26 percent for the irrigation of some 4,000 hectares of rice farms in Libmanan and Cabusao,” he said.

Grana said, however, that before implementation could push through, the study will have to be submitted for approval to the Regional Development Council (RDC) on Oct. 27 and to the Investment Coordinating Council of Neda by November this year.

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He said the diesel driven pumps of the Libmanan and Cabusao irrigation system could only provide water to some 1,000 ha of rice farms out of at least 2,195 ha that need water.

The LCD project is in the former first district of Camarines Sur, which was then under the 10-town congressional district of Rep. Diosdado “Dato” Arroyo before it was subdivided into two districts in 2009.

It became controversial after opposition from civil society groups who said the project would bring floods to the towns of Lupi and Sipocot in Camarines Sur.

It was among the multibillion peso projects approved by the Arroyo administration for the district of Dato Arroyo in 2008. The dam component was awarded to A.M. Oreta Construction, a construction firm owned by the family of former senator and aunt of President Aquino, Tessie Oreta.

Because of opposition from Camarines Sur Gov. Luis Raymund “Lray,” Villafuerte, provincial board, and civic groups, which demanded prior consultation for the project, the NIA suspended its implementation in 2010.

At the time of suspension, at least P300 million have been spent for initial construction of the dam structures, said Grana.

Orly Cablayan, engineer consultant of NIA Consult, a team that reviews the LCD project, said the revised study responds to issues and concerns raised by Neda and RDC.

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He said the review led to a redesign of the dam height, which was reduced to 8.5 meters from 11.3 meters to reduce the area expected to be flooded by the inflow of water.

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TAGS: Camarines Sur, Government, Libmanan-Cabusao Dam, NIA, project
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