P450-M Iloilo project was requested by NIA
We would like to clarify some points in the news article titled “Pet projects of Drilon got P650M” (Across the Nation, 7/26/14), specifically regarding the implementation of the P11.2-billion Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II).
It was the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) that requested the P450-million funding (sourced from the Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP) for the JRMP II in Iloilo province, not Senate President Franklin M. Drilon as reported. The construction of JRMP II is mandated by Republic Act No. 2651 which was passed in 1960, or 54 years ago, but only implemented by the present administration.
The Senate President may not be the “main proponent” of JRMP II nor this undertaking “his pet project,” the fact though is that he has been a crucial supporter of this noble project, and it was with the help of his office that the government successfully facilitated foreign funding for JRMP II, through a P8.95 billion loan from the Export Import Bank of Korea.
The NIA has been very transparent regarding all funds that are allocated and have been used for the JRMP II. The details of how the NIA spent the P450-million DAP allocation, along with the rest of the JRMP II funds, are open to public scrutiny.
For example, the P450-million DAP funds were used for various preparatory civil works in Calinog, Iloilo, which included the construction of access roads and cross drainages along a high line canal (P39.9 million), the repair and rehabilitation of Suague RIS Dam (P32.6 million); the repair and rehabilitation of Sta. Barbara RIS Dam; the rechanneling of Aganan River upstream of the dam and the desilting and improvement of the main canal at Aganan River (P30.2 million); and the repair and rehabilitation of Sibalom Diversion Works (P28.8 million).
On the report that a Supreme Court Writ of Kalikasan issued on Oct. 31 last year “effectively suspended work on the Jalaur dam,” may we clarify that work on the JRMP II continues even if there is a case pending in court. The Writ of Kalikasan only asked the NIA to answer petitions and provide explanations to the concerns raised by some parties. It is not a temporary restraining order.
The JRMP II will provide 32,000 hectares of farm land with uninterrupted irrigation water supply and benefit more than 783,000 farmers. It will also increase by 10 percent the irrigated lands in the region, and the annual regional rice production is expected to increase by 5 percent. It is a project supported not only by local and national leaders but also by a nationwide coalition of direct and indirect stakeholders, such as farmers groups and indigenous people (IP) communities. Thus we ask the public to look beyond politics, and to take note of the benefits of the JRMP II for Iloilo, and for the nation, which are truly undeniable.
—GERARDO P. CORSIGA,
concurrent project manager,
Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II,
National Irrigation Administration-Region 6
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