Press Release
November 24, 2011

Drilon lauds signing of MOU on P13 Billion Jalaur River project in Iloilo

Senator Frank Drilon today lauded the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Philippine and Korean governments and a funding agency which, he said, was a step closer to the forging of a loan agreement for the implementation of the P13-billion Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project-Stage II (JRMP II).

Drilon said the signing of the MOU between the Department of Agriculture and Export Import Bank of Korea (ExIm Bank) in Malacañang Monday was a significant step towards the implementation of JRMP II.

"We are confident that the signing of the MOU will pave the way for the realization of this long-overdue project," Drilon said.

The MOU was signed on the sidelines of the three-day visit of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to the Philippines upon the invitation of President Benigno Aquino III. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala signed the agreement for the Philippines alongside President Kim Yong-hwan of the Korea Export-Import Bank.

Drilon said the JRMP II was a priority irrigation project of the Department of Agriculture designed to significantly contribute to sustaining the rice self-sufficiency level in Western Visayas by 2013. The additional benefits of this project include electricity generation and potable water supply to the residents of Iloilo province, he added.

In a letter to President Noynoy Aquino, Drilon said the JRMP II, once implemented, would pave the way for the construction of irrigation systems, flood control, high dam and an impounding reservoir on and along the Jalaur River which was identified as a focal point for the development of Western Visayas.

"The Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project II is envisioned to augment agricultural production, stimulate agri-industrial activities, spur local economy and the eco-tourism industry, increase employment opportunities and contribute to the over-all development of the Province of Iloilo," Drilon added.

Drilon recalled that implementation of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project was mandated under Republic Act No. 2651 enacted by Congress in 1960. Phase one of the project, which consisted of rehabilitating the irrigation systems with an area of 22,340 hectares, was completed in 1983. But Phase 2 of the project was never implemented since 1988 due to lack of funds and the apparent indifference on the part of the national government, Drilon said.

"We are confident that Phase 2 of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project can take off next year as one of the early Public -Private Partnership Projects of the Aquino administration," Drilon said noting that JRMP II has three major components, namely irrigation, power and water supply.

The Irrigation Component is envisioned to provide year-round irrigation water to an estimated 31,840 hectares of agricultural lands, which include the rehabilitation of 22,340 hectares service area covered by five existing irrigation systems in Iloilo, and an additional 12,000 hectares of currently rain-fed areas.

The Power Supply Component will generate 11.5 megawatts of hydroelectric power to supplement the power supply requirement of Iloilo City, while the Water Supply Component will augment the supply of quality potable water for domestic and industrial use in Iloilo City and five nearby municipalities.

Drilon said the JRMP II would tap the Jalaur River as a long-term water source for the Metro Iloilo Water District. He explained that JRMP II also involved the construction of a 145-meter high arch dam across Jalaur River that will store water for the year-round irrigation of rice lands, generate power and supply municipal and industrial water for Metro Iloilo as well as contribute to fishery development.

"As a multi-purpose project, it will provide benefits such as flood mitigation and control, and the promotion of eco-tourism in selected reservoir areas. Needless to say, the project will generate thousands of employment opportunities and economic enhancement in the region," Drilon said, "With the project expected to be completed by year 2015, we are confident that this enterprise will make Western Visayas the rice granary of the Philippines once again."

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