Iloilo megadam project to start in February
ILOILO CITY—Construction of the P11.2-billion megadam project in Iloilo province will start in February 2016, Senate President Franklin Drilon said.
Drilon, the main proponent of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project II (JRMP II), said the bidding for the contract would be held in South Korea next month and project completion was targeted in four years, or in 2020.
The JRMP II is the second of a two-stage project aimed at the multipurpose use of water of the Jalaur River, one of the major rivers of Panay Island. It involves the construction of three dams (reservoir, afterbay and catchment), a 6.6-megawatt hydropower plant and an 81-kilometer high-line canal.
The project in Calinog town is funded by a $203-million loan from Export-Import Bank (Eximbank) of Korea, with a counterpart fund from the Philippine government amounting to P2.2 billion.
Its implementation has been delayed by opposition from a group of indigenous people’s communities, as well as environmental and human rights advocates who have warned of environmental and safety risks and massive dislocation of communities.
Ecumenical Advocacy Network on the Philippines, a US-based ecumenical network promoting human rights in the Philippines, earlier wrote to Eximbank, questioning the project that it was “deeply concerned about the negative social and environmental consequences” of the project.
Proponents have given assurance that all affected residents will be relocated and compensated.
Drilon said the JRMP II would supply irrigation water to 32,000 hectares of farmlands and increase Iloilo’s rice production threefold.
On Aug. 11, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples issued a certification precondition (CP) for the JRMP II. The CP certified the compliance of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) with procedures and processes in getting the consent of 16 IP communities that will be affected by the project in Calinog.
Gerardo Corsiga, NIA regional manager, has said that the loan agreement stipulates that Korean consultants will be hired and only Korean firms can bid for the project contract.
Corsiga said agencies would “try our best” to meet the target set by President Aquino to complete one of the three dams before his term ends in June next year.
During his visit here in June, the President gave assurance that the catchment dam in Barangay Alibunan will be finished when he steps down from office.
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