Press Release
March 23, 2012

Drilon lauds NEDA Board's approval of P11.2-B irrigation project

Senator Franklin M. Drilon today lauded the government's support to agriculture sector after the National Economic and Development Authority Board, chaired by the President, greenlighted the construction of an P11.2-billion high-class irrigation facility in Iloilo.

Drilon said the NEDA's approval of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project-Stage II (JRMP) of the Department of Agriculture will significantly contribute to sustaining the country's rice self-sufficiency level.

JRMP, an irrigation facility designed with provisions for a hydro-electric power and bulk water supply, is supported by an P8.95-billion official development assistance (ODA) extended by the Korean government through its Export-Import Bank's Economic Cooperation Fund. The government counterpart fund is P2.2 billion.

Drilon expected the actual construction to commence in the first quarter of next year and be completed by 2016.

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

He said that President Benigno S. Aquino III earlier ordered the release of an initial funding of P450 million for the pre-engineering activities which include survey, geotechnical, exploratory and environmental works, road settlement negotiations, among others.

Once completed, Drilon said the project--the first large-scale reservoir dam outside of Luzon--will provide uninterrupted irrigation water supply to 32,000 hectares of farm land and benefit more than 783,000 farmers.

This will increase the irrigated lands in the region by around 10 percent and the annual regional rice production by around five percent. It will likewise expand the production areas of sugarcane and other crops, noted Drilon.

Aside from that, he said that the project will also generate approximately 17,000 local jobs equivalent to P1.3 billion in basic wages per year.

The project will be implemented in two phases. The first phase, amounting to P11.2 billion, entails the construction of the Jalaur and Albunan dams and other irrigation infrastructure such as the afterbay and highline canals.

The second phase will entail the development, operation and management of the project's power generation and water supply component through a Public-Private Partnership.

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