Source: Sunstar Iloilo, 23 December 23, 2011

THE first large-scale reservoir dam outside Luzon area will be completed in the province of Iloilo before the term of President Benigno Aquino III ends in June 2016.

This was assured by Senator Franklin M. Drilon to the Ilonggos after the detailed engineering design and preparatory works started this month for the P11.2-billion Jalaur River Multi-purpose Project Phase II (JRMP II) until first half of 2013. Actual construction works will start on the second half of 2013 until 2016.

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Drilon said the Investment Coordination Council technical board has endorsed the project and the President and National Economic Development Authority approved it.

Once completed, the project will catapult the province of Iloilo as the top rice producing area in the country with an expansion of irrigated areas from 22,340 to 31,840 hectares. It will likewise improve rice yield from 3.25 to 5.20 metric tons per hectare every cropping season.

The service area coverage are the 24 municipalities of Iloilo province and Iloilo City. Other benefits and opportunities include flood mitigation, generate massive employment for 17,000 workers during construction, increased irrigable lands and provide livelihood opportunities for fishery and tourism, expected conversion to rice production of some 2,500 hectares of sugar lands, diversified cropping, increase delivery of water supply and stimulate tourism prospects in Iloilo.

Drilon said the JRMP II is being packaged in two phases. Phase I entails the construction of the Jalaur and Alibunan dams, the after bay, highline canals and other appurtenant structures for irrigation component with a total cost of P11.2 billion.

Of this amount, P8.95 billion will be funded by the Korean Eximbank as an official development assistance loan and P2.2 billion will be funded by the Philippine government. The loan is for 50 years at six percent interest per annum with a ten-year grace period.

Phase II of the project is envisioned to be packaged under a public private partnership to include the construction of a power plant to generate 6.6 megawatts and bulk water supply of additional 85,000 cubic meters daily for domestic and industrial uses for Iloilo City and five other municipalities.