The Groundbreaking and Capsule-Laying Ceremony of Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) signalled the official start of the construction phase of the long-awaited and much-anticipated irrigation development project of Iloilo.

On February 27, 2019, National Irrigation Administration (NIA) together with its wide-range stakeholders and guests ushered and witnessed the ceremony at Daewoo E&C Temporary Facilities Yard in Agcalaga, Calinog, Iloilo. It was led by high ranking officials of the governments of the Philippines and South Korea together with the executives of NIA, Korea Exim Bank and Daewoo E&C.

Said important event was led by NIA Administrator General Ricardo R. Visaya (Ret), Senator Franklin M. Drilon, Counselor-Minister Sunyoung Kim of South Korean Embassy, Senior Executive Director Deog-yong Shin of Korea Exim Bank, Daewoo Executive Director Park Chan Yong, Iloilo Provincial Governor Arthur D. Defensor and Regional/Concurrent Project Manager Gerardo P. Corsiga. Present too are various national and local executives of government agencies, Local Government Units (LGU), Non-Government Organizations (NGO), farmers, Indigenous Peoples (IP), Project Affected Families (PAF), NIA personnel and Daewoo E&C workers. 

Administrator Visaya emphasized the importance of the stakeholders especially the farmers and the IP communities in the implementation and eventually the operation of JRMP II. He said that NIA is developing and constructing irrigation facilities for the benefit of the Filipino farmers and that the agency will never allow anything that might destroy the farmers’ dreams.

Furthermore, he shared that the Duterte Administration is in full support of the JRMP II as it is the 8th big ticket irrigation development project under the “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program of the government. It is also the 2nd project funded by the Korean Government in the irrigation development sector.

Regional Manager and JRMP II Concurrent Project Manager Corsiga also expressed his happiness for the realization of this long-delayed project.

“There is no word to describe how happy we are with the conduct of today’s ceremony. The journey that we have embarked on and the time and effort that had been invested in this project is all for the growth of Iloilo,” he said as he addressed the more than a thousand attendees and guests of the event.

On the other hand, Senator Drilon said that the Ilonggos are now seeing the fulfilment of a once an impossible dream. He also acknowledged the people behind the success of JRMP II. 

“This project did not come easy, negotiating with the Korean Government was the easy part but it took blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today. Certain parties for their own political and ideological agenda tried to stop this project, filed a case before the Court of Appeals, asking to stop this project,” Drilon added.

Said case was the Writ of Kalikasan that was duly dismissed by the Court of Appeals on September 16, 2015 for lack of merit.

 Governor Defensor emphasized that every Ilonggo has a reason to celebrate because this multi-billion project is the game-changer that will uplift the quality of life in the Province and City of Iloilo . He underscored that JRMP II is a realization of Ilonggos’ dreams conceptualized more than 50 years ago.

 Once finished, JRMP II will be the first large-scale reservoir dam outside Luzon. /JP FLordalie Pagente