The multibillion-peso mega dam project in the town of Calinog, Iloilo is expected to be completed by September 2022.
The National Irrigation Administration (NIA-6) broke ground and laid down a time capsule for the Jalaur Multi-Purpose River Project Phase II (JRMP II) on Feb. 27, 2019.
NIA-6 is the lead implementer of the JRMP II, the largest dam outside Luzon.
“With confidence, we look forward to the inauguration of this project in 2022,” said NIA Administrator Ricardo Visaya during the ceremonial groundbreaking in Barangay Agcalaga.
The actual construction of the project began on March 1, said NIA-6 Manager Gerardo Corsiga.
The long-delayed JRMP II is the biggest single public infrastructure project in the history of Iloilo.
Senator Franklin Drilon said the implemenation of the project is the fulfillment of the Ilonggos’ “impossible dream.”
The senator led the groundbreaking ceremony for the JRMP II.
“This project did not come easy. It took blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today. Some parties, for their own agenda, tried to stop this project,” he said
“We had to overcome countless other roadblocks, too many to enumerate, to get here today,” Drilon added.
The Ilonggo senator, together with NIA officials, defended the construction of the project in a petition for Writ of Kalikasan in the Court of Appeals.
Drilon said he begged for two years with the National Commission on Indigenous People before it issued the Free Prior Informed Consent to allow the construction of the dam.
The project is funded by an P8.9-billion loan from the Korean ExportImport Bank and P2.3-billion counterpart from the Philippine government.
“This is the biggest loan extended by the Korean government for a single project, worldwide,” Drilon said.
The loan agreement, according to the senator, carried an interest rate of 0.015 percent.
The JRMP II is expected to improve the lives of 25,000 farmers, provide 17,000 jobs during its construction in the next three years.
The project is also seen to double rice production to nearly 300,000 metric tons per year, irrigate 32,000 hectares in 22 municipalities and two cities in Iloilo, improve the average yield of farmlands to 5.2 metric tons per hectare, provide 86,400 cubic meters of potable water daily, and generate 6.6 MW of hydro electric power.
Drilon said the JRMP II, once completed, will become a model of rural development.
“If we all unite and work together to attain these goals, we can all say that if we fulfilled our dreams of a better and progressive Iloilo, it is because we all did our share,” he said.IMT