Loan validity and construction of Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) was extended.
On December 6, 2017, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Investment Committee – Cabinet Committee (ICC-CabCom) approved request of National Irrigation Administration. Another 46 months is given to the project for its implementation. Loan validity will be until March 28, 2022 and project completion schedule is September 28, 2021.
JRMP II, a project aiming to maximize the potential of the Jalaur River for multi-purpose use has been delayed due to challenges met along its course for implementation.
Since the project will affect Indigenous Peoples (IP) communities in the municipality of Calinog, the agency has to undergo a Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) as per Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997. It took more than two years before a Certification Pre-Condition was given on August 11, 2015.
A former assemblyman of Iloilo filed a Writ of Kalikasan with a prayer for Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) against the project which was later dismissed by the court. There were also challenges faced during the conduct of International Competitive Bidding (ICB) in NIA Central Office. Since the project is a tied loan with the Korea Exim Bank, only the top five construction firms of South Korea were allowed to participate in the bidding. It was only after a long process that the contract was awarded to Daewoo Engineering and Builders Incorporated on December 27, 2017.
Moreover, NIA-JRMP II is continuously complying with Environmental and Social Safeguard requirements set by the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) to ensure the protection and security of the environment and stakeholders of the project.
Despite these, the NEDA finds enough reason to extend the validity of the project thus a chance for the Ilonggos to benefit from the biggest irrigation development of the province.
During his radio interview, Engineer Robertino Lapeña from JRMP II Project Coordination Office said that he is optimistic that they will meet the schedule of the groundbreaking.
Dubbed an “important economic game changer” JRMP II will provide year-round irrigation to 31,840 hectares of farm lots in the province. On top of this, the project will also generate hydroelectric power and bulk water for domestic and industrial use. It will also generate employment opportunities during implementation and eco-cultural tourism opportunities during operation.
On the part of the project implementer, NIA 6 Regional Manager and JRMP II Concurrent Project Manager Engineer Gerardo P. Corsiga committed to implement the project efficiently and effectively.
“We remain steadfast in our duty to implement Jalaur... we cannot delay this project anymore,” expressed Manager Corsiga. He further emphasized the readiness of NIA to implement the project. With the environmental and social safeguards in place, Manager Corsiga hopes for a smooth implementation and completion of JRMP II. /JP Flordalie L. Pagente