NIA positive for implementation kick off this year. Fifty seven years after Republic Act (RA) 2651 was passed, Iloilo’s biggest irrigation development project continues to be a priority for the Ilonggos.
Dubbed “Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II)”, the project is a “much-need” development that will complement and support the unprecedented growth of the Province and City of Iloilo.
JRMP II will give the necessary boost to the agriculture sector by providing year-round irrigation to 31,840 hectares of farm lands. It will increase annual rice production from 140, 000 to 300, 000 metric tons and will contribute to the national rice self-sufficiency target of 7.6 percent.
Also, its 6.6 megawatts hydroelectric power and bulk water components will augment the province’s and the city’s demand for power and potable water. The project will also generate employment opportunities during construction as well as eco-cultural tourism particularly in the hinterlands of Calinog town during operation.
No less than our national leaders saw these potentials of the Jalaur River as early as 1950s. As such, during the incumbency of President Carlos P. Garcia, House Speaker Daniel Romualdez and Senate President Eulogio Rodriguez, RA 2651 was approved on June 18, 1960.
The law specifically provides that “There shall be constructed at the Jalaur River in the Province of Iloilo, based on plans and specifications duly approved by the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, a multi-purpose project, to be known as the Jalaur Multi-Purpose Project, herein after called the Project, for the purposes of regulating and controlling floods caused by the Jalaur River, storing its waters and using them to irrigate agricultural lands in the Jalaur Valley, and generating and transmitting electric power and energy”.
Stage I was completed in 1970. However, Stage II was only pursued under the Aquino Administration in 2012.
Today, the National Irrigation Administration Region 6 (NIA R6), lead implementer of JRMP II, sees the realization of this plan under theleadership of President Rodrigo Duterte. JRMP II supports the thrust of the incumbent administration for food security and agricultural development.
“We are positive that the project will finally be implemented this year,” expressed Engineer Gerardo P. Corsiga, NIA Regional Manager and JRMP II Project Manager. He explained that no less than NIA Administrator Ricardo R. Visaya is on top of ensuring the project is implemented within the year.
JRMP II is now on International Competitive Bidding (ICB) and NIA is awaiting for the concurrence of the project fund provider. It is an 11.2 billion project with 80 percent of its fund coming from the Korea Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF).
Meanwhile, anticipation and support for the project continues to heighten. Most recent of which is the support extended by all 135 barangays that will be covered by the project. Support of national government leaders, Local Governments Units (LGU), National Government Agencies (NGA), religious and business sectors, farmers and Indigenous Peoples (IP) are very much alive. In fact, the inter-agency convergence for the project
comprised of 25 NGA and 2 LGU continue to deliver commitments for the project affected families.
As early as 2015, JRMP II enjoys the support and prayers of the highest Iloilo Catholic leader, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo. A former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, Lagdameo said he will “pray for the project and let no one delay it further”.
For the Provincial Government of Iloilo, Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. has since recognized the role of the project in the growth of the province. Saying “the economic benefit it (JRMP II) will bring to the province of Iloilo is tremendous,” Defensor is in “all out” support for the project.
“This project deserves the support of every Ilonggo, we should not deny our people with this opportunity for a better life,” said the Governor in an earlier interview. /JP Steve E. Cordero