ILOILO City- His Excellency, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III was in the forefront of commencing the 11.21 Billion Jalaur Multi-Purpose Project Phase II pointing towards the sustainable management and development of forest lands.
Considered being the biggest water reservoir outside Luzon, the project generally aims to sustain the region’s rice self-sufficiency and contribute to the annual increase in the country’s rice production target by 7.6% based on the Food Staples Self-Sufficiency Roadmap from 2011-2016.
It will also strengthen forestland management through collaborative and holistic implementation of comprehensive and sustainable forestland management strategies in the three critical river basins and improve the socio-economic conditions and quality of life of upland dwellers through more productive development and utilization of available resources.
In his speech, President Aquino emphasized how important water is, as a source of life, for many Filipinos. “Aside from the fact that water surrounds the 7, 107 islands of the archipelago, this also satiates our need for energy and irrigation system,” he said.
“This project concretely symbolizes the driving force of the government to provide every Filipinos the life they truly deserve- food for every table, education, jobs and opportunities for them particularly the Ilonggos,” he added.
Basically, this water reservoir will provide year-round irrigation for increased agricultural production to the 22, 340 hectares of the five existing irrigation systems and 9,500 hectares of rainfed areas.
Part of this project is the construction of the 6.6 Megawatt hydro-electric power plant to supplement the power supply in the Province of Iloilo.
The project will also augment supply of good quality and potable water for domestic and industrial consumption in about 25 municipalities including the city of Iloilo.
Intangible benefits including flooding mitigation and promotion in selected water reservoirs will also be realized.
Last November 17, 2012, Sen. Franklin Drilon, together with other dignitaries, led the unveiling of the project on its first phase in Calinog Iloilo.
Jalaur River Basin Forestland Management Project is one of the three watersheds that had been approved for funding by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, the two other being the Upper Magat and Cagayan River basin and Pampanga River basin.
The Project area falls within Iloilo City and the municipalities of Calinog, Passi City, Lambunao, Badiangan, Janiuay, Cabatuan, Sta. Barbara, Pavia, Alimodian, Leon, San Miguel, Oton, Tigbauan, Dueñas, San Enrique, Anilao, Dingle, Btac. Nuevo, Dumangas, Mina, New Lucena, Pototan, Zarraga, Leganes.
Present in the ceremonial groundbreaking were Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel Roxas, Department of Agriculture (DOA) Secretary Proceso Alcala, Senator Frank Drilon; Governor Art Defensor; Vice Governor Richard Garin; former Governor Niel Tupas; Rep. Jerry Treñas; Rep. Janette Garin; Rep. Art Defensor Jr.; Rep. Mel Sarmiento.
Team PNoy senatorial candidates RisaHontiveros; Manong Ramon Jun Magsaysay; Senator Koko Pimentel; Rep. Mark Villar representing his mother, Rep. Cynthia Villar were also in attendance.
Local government officials were also there to witness the event. IMT