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Aquino slams contrarians who have delayed government projects

/ 07:54 PM June 11, 2015

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — President Aquino on Thursday slammed contrarians who had done nothing but criticize and attack the programs and policies of his administration.

In a speech at the Iloilo provincial capitol where a short program was held after he inspected infrastructure projects, the President singled out critics of an P11.2-billion megadam project in Calinog town in Iloilo.

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After he cited the benefits of government projects, the President said he was saddened by the opposition to the projects.

He defended the Jalaur River Multipurpose Project (JRMP) II, saying the project was conceptualized way back in the 1960s.

“This irrigation project has been planned since the 1960s. Somebody decided to oppose and complain against this 55 years later,” Aquino said.

He said he could not understand “people who know nothing but to find faults on what we’re doing right.”

The JRMP II is the second of a two-stage project aimed at the multi-purpose use of water from the Jalaur River, one of the major rivers of Panay. The project was implemented after the passing of Republic Act 2651 in 1960.

It involves the construction of three dams (reservoir, afterbay and catch dams), a 6.6-MW hydro power plant and an 81-kilometer highline canal.

The project is funded by a $203-million loan from 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 megadam is the largest reservoir dam outside of Luzon and considered the biggest infrastructure investment in Western Visayas.

Proponents and supporters of the project have insisted that the JRMPII will boost agricultural production, water supply and generate employment.

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But various groups including indigenous people’s (IP) communities and organizations are opposing the project claiming that this will dislocate 17,000 IP community members. Oppositors have also raised safety and environmental concerns.

President Aquino has said that projects that are beneficial to the people have been set back by opposition and public criticisms. He said critics should help find solutions to problems instead of complain.

“Since it’s Independence Day tomorrow, I hope they can let go of their closed-mindedness,” said the President.

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, dam, economic development, environment protection, hydro-power plant, Indigenous Peoples, Infrastructure projects, Jalaur River Multipurpose Project II, JRMP, News, opposition, Philippine Government, Philippine president, Politics
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