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Korea-funded dam to help address food security – Drilon

Paolo Romero - The Philippine Star
Korea-funded dam to help address food security � Drilon
“The completion of this mega dam by December next year will provide the much-needed push in the incoming administration’s efforts to address the numerous challenges to the country’s food security,” Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said yesterday.
Senate PRIB / File

MANILA, Philippines — The completion of the P11.2-billion Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project (JRMP) in Iloilo will help boost the country’s food security and address declining agricultural productivity, according to Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who championed the construction of the biggest dam outside Luzon.

“The completion of this mega dam by December next year will provide the much-needed push in the incoming administration’s efforts to address the numerous challenges to the country’s food security,” Drilon said yesterday.

“Its immediate completion will play a crucial role in the Marcos administration’s commitment to stabilize the food supply and improve food production,” he said.

He expressed hope that president-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who will sit as agriculture secretary, will include among his priorities the construction and completion of agricultural facilities in the country such as JRMP.

Stalled for more than three decades, the P11.2-billion project is the first large-scale reservoir dam outside of Luzon.

It was Drilon who secured the funding for JRMP from South Korea through its Export-Import Bank, which extended a $207-million loan to the country payable in 30 years at an interest rate of 0.15 percent per annum.

The project’s main reservoir is already 42.1 meters high out of the target 109 meters structural height.

Drilon said the irrigation project will provide the critical support needed by farmers and the agriculture sector “in order to improve productivity,” particularly in Western Visayas.

JRMP will increase annual production of rice in Iloilo to 300,000 metric tons from 140,000 metric tons. It will likewise expand the production areas of sugarcane and other crops, he said.

The mega dam will be able to provide year-round irrigation to 31,840 hectares of farm lots in Iloilo.

The JRMP includes the construction of 109-meter Jalaur high dam, 38.5-meter after-bay dam, 10-meter Alibunan catch dam, 80.74-kilometer high line canal; generation of new areas for irrigation and rehabilitation of existing irrigation system.

As a multi-purpose project, JRMP will provide benefits such as flood mitigation and control, promotion of eco-tourism in selected reservoir areas and serve as possible source of power supply.

JRMP II was first implemented in 1960s after the fourth Congress passed Republic Act 2651, which provides for the construction of the JRMP in Iloilo. Its first phase was completed in the 1980s but its second phase was derailed due to lack of funding.

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FRANKLIN DRILON

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