US group raises issues vs Iloilo dam
ILOILO CITY—A United States-based human rights group has questioned the controversial P11.2-billion megadam project in Iloilo at the Export-Import Bank (Eximbank) of Korea, which is funding the project.
In a letter to the Eximbank chief executive officer Yong Hwan-kim dated Aug. 14, the Ecumenical Advocacy Network on the Philippines (EANP) said it is “deeply concerned about the negative social and environmental consequences” of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project II (JRMP II) in Calinog town in Iloilo.
The North Carolina-based network said it is concerned that the project would lead to environmental and cultural damage and displace members of the indigenous people Tumandok from their ancestral land.
“We are very concerned about the fate of the 17,000 Tumandok who will be displaced by the dam and about the manipulation of local communities to gain the required approvals needed for the project to proceed,” according to the EANP in its letter signed by Paul Bloom and Tim McGloin.
The network cited reports of alleged “intimidation and manipulation of local communities” to secure approval for the project.
The JRMP II is the second of a two-stage project aimed at tapping the current of the Jalaur River, one of the major rivers of Panay. It involves the construction of three dams, a 6.6-megawatt hydropower plant and an 81-kilometer canal.
The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples last week agreed to issue a permit to the proponents of the project led by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to proceed.
The NIA and other proponents of the project have said that JRMP II will generate about 17,000 jobs during the construction stage and address Iloilo’s potable water supply and problems. Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Inquirer Visayas
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