Iloilo City - Better lives are up for the stakeholders and disadvantaged population of Iloilo’s biggest irrigation development project. On October 20, 2016, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office VI strengthened partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
The Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) is the first large-scale water reservoir to be constructed in the Visayas and Mindanao regions. In fact, it is the National Irrigation Administration’s (NIA) flagship project in Western Visayas. JRMP II aims to usher inclusive development among stakeholders achieved through harnessing the potential of the Jalaur River for multi-purpose benefit while minimizing feasible impacts to the environment and to the project-covered communities. Such benefits include year-round irrigation, bulk water supply, hydroelectric power, and eco- tourism among many others. Primary areas that shall be served by the project include the towns of Calinog, Lambunao, Badiangan, Janiuay, Cabatuan, Sta. Barbara, Pavia, Alimodian, Leon, San Miguel, Oton, Tigbauan, Duenas, San Enrique, Anilao, Dingle, Barotac Nuevo, Dumangas, Mina, New Lucena, Pototan, Zarraga and Leganes, Passi City, and Iloilo City.
JRMP was first implemented by NIA in 1960s after the Fourth Congress of the Philippines passed Republic Act 2651 (R.A. 2651) in June 18, 1960. The law provides for the construction of the Jalaur Multi-Purpose Project in the Province of Iloilo and governing its operation after its completion. The first phase of the project was completed in 1980s; its second stage commenced in 2012 after the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Board approved its second phase for its 16.26% Economic Internal Rate of Return (EIRR).
For its second stage, the project involves three major components, Irrigation Development, Environmental and Watershed Management, and Institutional Development. For Irrigation Development, JRMP II covers the construction of three dams, all in Calinog Town, and a high line canal that will traverse nine towns of the province of Iloilo, from Calinog to Oton town. It will also rehabilitate and modernize existing National Irrigation Systems (NIS) in the province.
Judicious execution of sound environmental plans and programs relative to JRMP II implementation is the major objective of the Environmental and Watershed Management component. Also, this component aims to protect and to preserve the forests to ensure water for the project. Further still, it involves securing an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and creation of a Multi-Partite Monitoring Team (MMT) to monitor NIA’s compliance to environmental regulations and conditions of the ECC. All plans relative to the environment and the watershed were prepared adhering to the result of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) conducted for the project.
The Institutional Component of JRMP II is provided under NIA Memorandum Circular (MC) 9 s. of 1986 which directs for the integration of the Institutional Development Program (IDP) within appropriate levels of the agency. This component aims to organize Irrigators’ Associations (IAs) in new irrigated areas generated by the project, and to strengthen existing IAs in the rehabilitated NIS. In addition, this component also covers the application of JRMP II for a Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). This process is required by Republic Act 8371 (R.A. 8371) of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) which ensures IPs approval for the construction activities within their inherited lands. The FPIC process is facilitated by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).