Peoples’ forum draws more JRMP support as stakeholders call for project implementation

Iloilo City – Support for the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) widens and continues to increase. This, with the success of the recent forum initiated by the project proponent, National Irrigation Administration (NIA).

Indigenous Peoples (IPs), farmers, Irrigators Associations (IAs), Non-Government Organizations and Government Agencies here gathered May 21, 2015, for said forum.

Dubbed as the “National Peoples Forum for JRMP II,” the event was graced by Ilonggo Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, NIA Administrator Engr. Florencio F. Padernal, Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, and Mayors of the Municipalities covered by JRMP II. Important too is the unified support and presence of the provincial government of Iloilo through Atty. Dennis Ventilacion representing Governor Arthur D. Defensor, Sr.

Also present were experts from the Korean Rural Community-Joint Venture, Engr. Sueng Ha Ryu, the dam design expert of South Korea who designed the JRMP II dams, and Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) Manila deputy director Eunseok Roy Kim.

“The Jalaur (project) is the most important and biggest project in the history of the Province of Iloilo and of the NIA Region 6. This is critical for it will uplift the lives of our beloved farmers in the province,” said Senator Drilon. “By supporting this project, we are supporting the future of our Province and the future of our children,” he added.

On the part of the City, Mayor Mabilog called for unity of various stakeholders for the implementation of the project. “Here in the City of Iloilo, we are almost complete. We have electricity, roads, commercial buildings, businesses, but only one is lacking and that is water,” said Mayor Mabilog.

“In Korea, it is already proven that the Jalaur dams are really a big help economically for the people residing there,” explained EDCF Manila Deputy Director Kim. “JRMP II is the biggest project in EDCF’s history in the Philippines. . .we look forward to the construction of the dams and  the Jalaur River project will be the best, ”he added.

Evan Teruel, President of Parokya Guadalupe Irrigators Association expressed that they do not have objections at all. He said that they want the project to start because they need water for their farmlands.

On his part, Alibunan IP Chieftain Ildefonso Carado called for the immediate implementation of the project. “Siling kaina ni Senator Drilon sa Nobyembre pa maumpisahan ang construction. . .sa probinsya sang Iloilo labi na guid sa Alibunan ga problema ang tawo sa ila tanom kay wala tubig, lapit na lang daan ang tig gulutom. Gani gusto namon nga ma implementar na ang project subong. (Senator Drilon said earlier that the construction will commence in November . . . In the province of Iloilo, especially in Alibunan, Calinog, the farmers are worried about their crops due to  lack of water, now that we are also approaching the lean months. This is why we want the project to be implemented now),” said Carado.

JRMP II is the first large-scale reservoir dam outside of Luzon. The project is designed to harness the potential of the Jalaur River for multi-purpose use while minimizing impacts to the environment and to the community it covers.

It will provide year-round irrigation to 31, 840 hectares of farm land and increase rice production. Also, its 6.6 megawatts hydroelectric power and bulk water component will augment the province’s and the city’s demand for power and potable water. Finally, is the generation of employment opportunities during construction and rural development in the areas it covers, particularly in the hinterlands of Calinog. /JP (Steve E. Cordero, PRO C)