Korean bank OKs NIA-Daewoo deal on Jalaur dam construction

South Korea’s official export credit agency has concurred with the contract agreement between the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and Daewoo Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd. for the construction of the Jalaur River Multi-purpose Project Phase II (JRMP II) in the town of Calinog, Iloilo.

“We kindly notify you that the subject contract has been approved by us in accordance with Section 6.03 of the General Terms and Conditions Applicable to EDCF Loan Agreement,” said Yang Hye-Young, director of Asia Team 2 of the Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM), in a letter sent to NIA Administrator Ricardo Visayas on Nov. 19.

The contract was signed by NIA and Korean contractor Daewoo on September 3, 2018.

The long-delayed mega dam is worth P11.2 billion. The South Korean government, through KEXIM, will extend an P8.9-billion loan for the project, and the Philippine government will provide a P2.3-billion counterpart fund.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon, who initiated the project in April 2011, considered the concurrence of KEXIM an “early Christmas gift for Ilonggos.”

“The long wait is over. Despite the delays, we will soon see one of the biggest dams in the country being constructed right in Iloilo,” he said.

The Ilonggo senator believed that the project would benefit Iloilo’s economy and eco-tourism industry.

Once completed, the first large-scale reservoir dam outside of Luzon will provide uninterrupted irrigation water supply to 32,000 hectares of farmland, benefit more than 24,000 farmers and increase annual production of rice to 300,000 metric tons from 140,000 in Iloilo.

The project is also expected to generate approximately 17,000 local jobs equivalent to P1.3 billion in basic wages per year.

Drilon said that agriculture in Western Visayas has suffered a decline for the past years, citing the contribution of agriculture (in real terms) to the gross regional domestic output of Western Visayas on a downward trend from 14.1 percent in 2010 to a negative 3.3 percent in 2013 brought about by a sharp decrease in sugarcane and palay production.

JRMP II includes the construction of 109-meter Jalaur high dam, 38.5-meter afterbay dam, 10-meter Alibunan catch dam, 80.74-kilometer high line canal; generation of new areas for irrigation; and rehabilitation of existing irrigation system.

The schedule for the project groundbreaking is still being finalized by NIA.IMT