Philippines gets single biggest ODA from Korea

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - September 4, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has secured an P11.2 billion loan from the South Korean government – its single biggest official development assistance from any country to date – for the construction of the largest irrigation project outside of Luzon.

After six years, the National Irrigation Administration signed a loan contract with the Daewoo Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd. for the second stage of the Jalaur River Multipurpose Project (JRMP) in Iloilo.

Sen. Franklin Drilon, who pushed for the project, said the delay was political in nature with the filing of writ of kalikasan before the Supreme Court several years ago.

“We have showed that this dam is safe, that we have respected the rights of the indigenous people and we followed all the laws. This is a government project and yet the process took a long time because of bureaucracy,” Drilon told reporters yesterday.

“We pushed for this because this is good for the country and that the long-term solution is to provide infrastructure support to our farmers for our own food security,” he said.

NIA administrator Ricardo Visaya said the project, which will be finished in the next four years, only carries a 0.15 percent interest with a 10 year grace period, payable in 30 years.

For his part, Daewoo Manila branch manager Se Won Park said the company is committed to “deliver the project with the best quality in time.”

The JRMP is the second project funded by the Korea Eximbank, after the PASA small reservoir irrigation project. It is also the eighth large-scale irrigation project to be started under the administration.

Slated for groundbreaking in October, the project will cover the construction of 109-meter Jalaur high dam, 38.5-meter Afterbay dam, 10-meter Alibutan catch dam, 80.74-kilometer highline canal, and its appurtenant structures.

It is expected to provide year-round irrigation water delivery to 9,500 hectares of new irrigable area and support the rehabilitation of 21,624 hectares covered by five existing irrigation systems in 23 municipalities and two cities in Iloilo.

The project will benefit 24,000 farmers and contribute to the government’s goal of achieving rice self-sufficiency.

It will also provide other incidental benefits, such as flood mitigation, environmental and watershed management, promotion of eco-tourism, and fish culture.

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