The Regional Project Steering Committee of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) convened its members on November 17, 2021 to provide the latest developments on Iloilo’s biggest irrigation project. The RPSC is composed of the The JRMP II Project Management Office (PMO) which sits as its chairperson, Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU) of Iloilo, Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and National Economic Development Authority (NEDA). 

The Steering Committee is at the helm of centralizing government resources and ensuring that these are effectively and efficiently delivered to the affected families and communities of the project.  A total of 27 National Government Agencies and Local Government Units (LGU) that comprise the JRMP II Interagency Convergence Mechanism which are tasked to assist NIA in addressing the environmental, social, livelihood and basic services requests of the project’s stakeholders. These includes the development needs of the 16 IP Communities in the upland area which are stipulated in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between NIA, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and the IP Community themselves.  

With the full support of the Steering Committee, JRMP II has delivered the needs of the Project Affected Families (PAF) and the community. 

During the meeting, Engineer Jonel B. Borres, Acting Project Manager, reported that the overall physical accomplishment of the project as of October 30, 2021, was 44.03 percent. This percentage included the works being done in the Jalaur High Dam, Jalaur Afterbay Dam, Alibunan River Catch Dam, High Line Canal, Indigenous Peoples’ Housing, and other structures. 

Moreover, he added that the High Line Canal is simultaneously constructed in the municipalities of Calinog, Lambunao, Janiuay and Cabatuan covering 24 kilometers or around 30 percent of its total length which is 80.736 km.

NIA likewise reported that as of October 2021, the Inter-Agency Convergence Mechanism has already completed 42% or equivalent to a total of 59 out of 140 commitments to the IP community, while 30% or 42 others are ongoing. 

Given the progress of JRMP II implementation, the committee also saw the need to expand the membership of the convergence mechanism in preparation to project operation,  to include essential agencies such as the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), National Electrification Administration (NEA), and the Local Water Utilities Administration. 

This project, which is a tied-loan with the Export-Import Bank of South Korea is expected to be completed by December 2023. /JP Ramon Salvilla