The Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II’s (JRMP II) construction contract was finally signed and sealed by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and Daewoo Engineering and Construction. This after Daewoo E&C was confirmed as the winning bidder during the International Competitive Bidding (ICB) for this multi-billion irrigation development project of Iloilo. Said signing of contract happened on September 3, 2018 at the Administrator’s Conference Room, 2nd Floor, NIA Central Office, Diliman, Quezon City. 

The contract was signed by General Ricardo R. Visaya (Ret), NIA Administrator, and Daewoo E&C Manila Branch Manager Se Won Park. Also present during this milestone of JRMP II were the top management of NIA, Regional Manager and JRMP II Project Manager Gerardo P. Corsiga, Senator Franklin M. Drilon, Iloilo Provincial Governor Arthur D. Defensor and representatives of Korea Exim Bank.

The signed contract is for the construction of 109-meter High Dam, 38.5-meter Afterbay Dam, 10-meter Alibunan River Catch Dam, 80.736-kilometer highline canal, 157-kilometer of main and lateral canals, and, appurtenant structures. Eighty percent of the overall project cost is funded by the Government of South Korea through the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) in a tied load. The remaining 20 percent is funded by the Government of the Philippines.

Senator Drilon expressed that he is confident that the project will not suffer any more delays because NIA and Daewoo are both committed to fast track the implementation of JRMP II.

“This signals the start of the project which will bring back rice productivity in the Western Visayas region, spur the local economy and the eco-tourism industry, and increase employment opportunities, particularly in Iloilo”, Drilon added.

On the other hand, JRMP II management led by Engineer Gerardo P. Corsiga considered this contract signing as one of the important milestones in the project implementation. The project proponent will immediately work on the granting of Notice to Proceed to Daewoo E&C so as not to further delay its implementation.

Once finished, the project will provide sufficient irrigation water to 9,500 hectares new area of agricultural land and rehabilitate 22,340 hectares of the existing National Irrigation Systems (NIS). Aside from that, JRMP II will also be a source of hydroelectric power and bulk water supply as well as promote eco-tourism in the Municipality of Calinog among other benefits.

The journey to a successful signing of contract was not an easy feat and had been one of the causes of the project’s delay. NIA Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) previously declared failure of bidding. DAELIM, one of the ICB bidders, then filed a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and preliminary injunction against NIA. The court then ruled in favour of the irrigation agency leading to the awarding of contract to Daewoo E&C on January 5, 2018.

JRMP II is the 8th big irrigation project to be ground break under the Duterte Administration and the 2nd project to be funded by the Korea Export-Import (KEXIM) Bank. It is expected to be completed in September 2021 after National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) International Coordinating Council – Cabinet Committee (ICC-CabCom) granted the extension of loan validity until March 2022. /JP Flordalie Pagente