Press Release
August 8, 2012

Tubig to Bigas: From Jalaur to Pinas
PNoy to witness signing of P8.9-B deal with Korea
 in support of PHL's rice self-sufficiency target

The country is another notch closer toward its rice self-sufficiency target by 2013 with the signing of an P8.9-billion loan agreement with the Republic of Korea to fund an agriculture infrastructure which is seen to improve the country's agricultural productivity, said Senator Franklin M. Drilon.

President Benigno S. Aquino III is expected to witness today (August 9) the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Philippines and the South Korea which provides for P8.95-billion official development assistance (ODA) to the country to construct the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project-Stage II (JRMP) in the Province of Iloilo, said Drilon, who was instrumental in the realization of JRMP.

The signing will be held at the Malacanang Palace with Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima and Export-Import Bank of Korea Executive director San-Wan Byun who will lead the signing.

The project which costs P11.2 billion - P2.2 billion is Philippine's counterpart fund - will be the first large-scale reservoir dam outside of Luzon and will provide uninterrupted irrigation water supply to 32,000 hectares of farm land and benefit more than 783,000 farmers, explained Drilon.

JRMP 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 development of the Province of Iloilo and the Western Visayas, in general. The project dubbed as "Tubig to Bigas: From Jalaur to Pinas" clearly speaks of what Iloilo can contribute to the country in becoming the source of strength of Philippines in terms of agricultural productivity, added Drilon.

"This project will be Iloilo's contribution to the vision of President Aquino to equip the country with food security soon. Once completed, this project will make Western Visayas the rice granary of the Philippines once again," said Drilon.

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.

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.

On top of these, the project will also generate approximately 17,000 local jobs equivalent to P1.3 billion in basic wages per year.

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.

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