Western Visayas’ biggest irrigation project is moving forward, now with strong support from no less than Iloilo’s highest Catholic leader.
In a press release issued Friday, Ilonggo leader and Senate President Franklin M. Drilon reported that Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo has given his blessing and prayers for the successful implementation of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II). The backing came after Drilon’s meeting with the prelate together with Jaro Archdiocese Social Action Center (JASAC) Executive Director Msgr. Meliton Oso.
According to the Ilonggo Senator, the Archbishop said he will “pray for the success of the Jalaur (JRMP II), and let no one delay it any further.”
NIA regional manager and JRMP II project manager Engr. Gerardo P. Corsiga, sincerely welcomed the support and said he is thankful to the Catholic leader. “We are moving forward, now with strong support from no less than Iloilo’s highest Catholic leader, His Excellency Archbishop Lagdameo. We are so thankful,” said Manager Corsiga. “The Archbishop’s blessing and backing signifies his support not only to NIA but to our farmers, our IPs and all Ilonggos who are looking up to this project as a long-term solution to our problems in water, power and food security.”
Manager Corsiga further assured that the Archbishop’s support will be translated into concrete efforts to ensure judicious implementation of the project, particularly to address concerns of IPs and landowners who will be affected by it.
NIA has recently secured all 16 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of the IPs. The FPIC is mandated under R.A. 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), a guiding principle in JRMP II implementation.
Also, the project has acquired an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) and has prepared a Land Acquisition and Resettlement Action Plan (LARAP) to address environmental and relocation concerns.
“We are also thankful to our Senate President Franklin Drilon for his unwavering support to our project,” Manager Corsiga added.
JRMP II is the first large-scale reservoir dam outside of Luzon. The project is designed to harness the potential of the Jalaur River for multi-purpose use while minimizing impacts to the environment and to the community it covers. It will provide year-round irrigation to 31, 840 hectares of farm land and increase annual rice production from 140, 000 to 300, 000 metric tons. Further, it will contribute to the national rice self-sufficiency target of 7.6 percent.
Also, its 6.6 megawatts hydroelectric power and bulk water component will augment the province’s and the city’s demand for power and potable water. And finally, the generation of employment opportunities during construction and eco-cultural tourism in the areas it covers particularly the hinterlands of Calinog.
Branded as “Partner in Progress,” the project is a much-deserved and much-needed development for every Ilonggo family. /JP (Steve E. Cordero, PRO C)