P500M in DAP funds went to Iloilo multi-purpose dam in Iloilo – DBM
ILOILO CITY, Philippines—Close to P500 million in funds from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) went to a controversial megadam project in Iloilo, according to a list of projects released by the Department of Budget and Management.
Funding for the Jalaur River Multipurpose Project 2 (JRMP2) amounting to P450 million was among the 116 projects identified as DAP-funded projects on the list released on July 14 by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.
The funding was identified as the first year requirement of the government’s counterpart funding required by the project, according to the list.
Incidentally, the main proponent of JRMP2 is Senate President Franklin Drilon, a native of Iloilo and a staunch ally of President Aquino.
He has consistently defended the project against the critics, insisting that this would help the farmers, generate jobs and significantly lessen water and power supply problems of Iloilo.
Aside from the JRMP2, other projects of Drilon that were funded by DAP included the Iloilo Convention Center worth P100 million, which was coursed through the Department of Public Works and Highways.
The other is the relocation site of Barangay Lanit in Jaro District for informal settlers along the Iloilo River. The project cost was at P100 million, which was coursed through the National Housing Authority.
The P11.2-billion JRMP2 in Calinog town in Iloilo is funded by a $203-million official development assistance of the South Korean government through its Export-Import Bank’s Economic Cooperation Fund with a counterpart fund from the Philippine government, amounting to P2.2 billion.
The release of DAP funds for the project was approved by the Office of the President on Dec. 21, 2011, according to the list.
But the militant farmers group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), which is opposing the project, said the approval and release of the fund was questionable because the loan agreement between the government and the Korean Export-Import Bank for the project was signed only on August 9, 2012.
“The JRMP2 did not exist in the 2011 General Appropriations Act. The President’s approval and release of P450 million DAP funds for (the project) as early as December 21, 2011 smacks of plunder,” said KMP Secretary General Antonio Flores in a statement.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the DAP was unconstitutional but the funds have been defended by the President and his allies insisting that the funds were not stolen and were used for various projects including public infrastructure.
The JRMP2 being pushed by the government is set to be completed by 2016. It involves the construction of three dams (Jalaur reservoir, afterbay and catch dams), a 6.6- mw hydro power plant and an 81-kilometer highline canal. It is aimed at developing irrigation systems, generating hydro-electric power and provide domestic and industrial water supply.
But environmental groups and organizations of farmers and indigenous peoples are opposing the project warning of massive flooding and destruction of crops and livelihood especially on the lowlands and community of indigenous peoples.
They have cited the 11-kilometer distance of the project site to the active West Panay Fault, which could damage the megadam and trigger massive flooding in the event of an earthquake.
National Irrigation Administration (NIA) officials earlier insisted that the megadam could withstand an Intensity 9 earthquake and would have the capacity to store 223 million cubic meters or equivalent to 280 million drums of water before an overflow.
NIA is in the process of securing a Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) for the construction stage of the project.
Under the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (RA 8371), proponents of projects and activities that will affect indigenous people (IP) communities are required to apply for an FPIC and secure a certification from the NCIP that the project is supported by the affected IP communities.
The Supreme Court issued a Writ of Kalikasan on Oct. 31, 2013, directing the NIA and other proponents to respond to a petition to stop the project filed by former Iloilo representative Augusto Syjuco Jr.
The Court of Appeals Fifth Division, on an order of the high court, is hearing oral arguments on the petition.
SC issues protection order for Jalaur River
Drilon: Phivolcs certifies Iloilo dam as safe
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