The implementation of Iloilo’s biggest irrigation development project continues to gain momentum. The Project Management Office (PMO) of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) reported that implementation of the project is still ahead of its target.

For the first quarter of the year, the over-all physical accomplishment of JRMP II, considering both Government of the Philippines (GOP) and Loan Proceed (LP) components, is recorded at 37.83%. This is 6.11% more than its target for the same quarter which is 31.72%. This project development supports the battle cry of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) – as chief implementing agency, for a continued implementation of essential irrigation development projects and programs amidst the pandemic. Thus, the official agency tagline #TuloyAngDaloyNIA.

Ongoing works of international contractor DAEWOO Engineering and Construction (DEC) include foundation preparations for the 109-meter Jalaur High Dam - the impounding dam of the project. This activity is crucial because the foundation of the dam is integral in ensuring the stability and structural integrity of the project. In fact, an additional geological investigation was jointly conducted by NIA, DEC and independent international geological expert Arup commissioned by the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) – the loan provider. The additional geological assessment aims to help the NIA and the contractor determine the appropriate foundation treatment for the high dam considering current geological conditions. 

Simultaneous to this, the contractor is also constructing a downstream coffer dam in the Jalaur High dam. This 10.65-meter coffer dam will help ensure that the dam site will be dry and suitable for construction. The downstream coffer dam is the third structure constructed by DEC for the care and diversion of the river. In 2020, the contractor had completed the 310-meter diversion tunnel and  30.21-meter upstream coffer dam. 

Meanwhile, works in the 38.5 Afterbay Dam – the regulating dam of the project located 1.5 kilometers downstream of the High Dam, are also ongoing. Preparatory works for the construction of the upstream and downstream coffer dams of the Afterbay Dam have already commenced. As of this writing, DEC has already diverted the Jalaur River through the 150-meters diversion tunnel of the Afterbay Dam.

At the 10-meter Alibunan River Catch Dam – the third dam of JRMP II, foundation preparations are likewise ongoing. This as the construction of the second phase of the dam commenced this 1st quarter of the year. Phase 1 of the project was completed last 2020. The first to be completed among the three dams, the Catch Dam will provide irrigation to more than 500 hectares of farmlands in portions of Calinog and nearby municipalities. 

For the 81-kilometer High Line Canal (HLC) that will traverse nine (9) towns in Iloilo Province, various construction activities are ongoing as well. These include clearing and grubbing, and simultaneous construction of canals and siphons in the municipalities of Calinog, Lambunao, Januiay and Cabatuan. 

At this rate of construction, NIA is optimistic that the project will be completed as planned by 2023.

JRMP II is a timely and “much needed” economic game changer in the Province of Iloilo and in the Western Visayas Region. It will usher inclusive rural progress through multi-purpose utilization of the Jalaur River – the second largest river system in Panay Island. On top of the irrigation provided to 31, 840 hectares of farmlands in Iloilo, the project will also generate 6.6 megawatts hydroelectric power and 86 million liters per day bulk water supply for the province and city. JRMP II will likewise generate eco-cultural tourism opportunities and mitigate flooding in Calinog and nearby towns. During its implementation, the project will generate employment opportunities for its stakeholders.

The project also strengthens the partnership of the Philippines and South Korea for economic progress. Eighty (80) percent of the cost of JRMP II is funded by the Government of South Korea through a tied loan with EDCF. 
/JRMP II Steve E. Cordero