January 4, 2012
Drilon: Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project II to create 17,000 jobs in Iloilo
The construction of the P11.2 billion Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project-Stage II (JRMP II) in Iloilo, which will start this month, will generate approximately 17,000 local jobs equivalent to P1.3 billion in basic wages per year, Senator Frank Drilon said today.
Drilon, a native of Iloilo, said he expected the project to be completed during the administration of President Nonoy Aquino. Last Sunday, Drilon announced that the JRMP II project will start this month with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) drafting its engineering design.
Drilon said President Noynoy Aquino ordered the release of an initial P450 million to finance the engineering design and other initial works of the project.
The JRMP II, Drilon said, is a priority irrigation project of the Department of Agriculture designed to significantly contribute to sustaining the country's rice self-sufficiency level. The additional benefits of this project include electricity generation and potable water supply to the residents of Iloilo, he added.
Once completed, Drilon said the irrigation component of the JRMP II will provide year-round irrigation to approximately 32,000 hectares of farm land and benefit more than 783,000 farmers in Iloilo.
The fisheries development component of the project would provide better livelihood opportunities in an area covering some 60 hectares, he added.
The power supply component will generate 6.6 megawatts of hydroelectric power to supplement the power supply requirement of Iloilo City, while the water supply component will provide a potential supply of about 86,000 cubic meters per day of quality potable water for domestic and industrial use in Iloilo City and five nearby municipalities.
The project will also provide a big boost to current efforts to promote eco-tourism in Iloilo, Drilon said.
"The Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project II is envisioned to augment agricultural production, stimulate agri-industrial activities, spur the local economy and the eco-tourism industry, increase employment opportunities and contribute to the over-all development of Western Visayas," Drilon added.
Drilon said the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Department of Agriculture and Export Import Bank of Korea (ExIm Bank) in Malacañang in November paved the way for the approval of the project by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Investment Cabinet Committee last Dec. 20.
The MOU was signed on the sidelines of the three-day visit of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to the Philippines upon the invitation of President Benigno Aquino III last November. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala signed the agreement for the Philippines alongside President Kim Yong-hwan of the Korea Export-Import Bank.
Drilon said the actual cost of the project was P11.212 billion, the bulk of which will be sourced from an P8.95 billion loan from the Export Import Bank of Korea while a sum of P2.2 billion will be provided as a counterpart fund by the Philippine government. Drilon recalled that the implementation of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project was mandated under Republic Act No. 2651 enacted by Congress in 1960. Phase one of the project, which consisted of rehabilitating the irrigation systems with an area of 22,340 hectares, was completed in 1983. But Phase 2 of the project was never implemented due to lack of funds and the apparent indifference on the part of the national government, Drilon lamented.
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