ILOILO CITY – The National Economic and Development Administration (NEDA) Board chaired by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has approved the loan restructuring for the Jalaur River Multipurpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) for an additional PHP8.48 billion for its completion.
JRMP II Project Management Office Manager Jonel Borres gave updates on the project during the special meeting of the Infrastructure Development Committee (IDC) of the Regional Development Council (RDC) at the NEDA building on Monday.
The original price was PHP11.2 billion when the project's implementing agency National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and the contractor Daewoo Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd. signed the contract on Sept. 3, 2018.
NIA spokesperson Steve Cordero said the contractor has requested for increase in price since inflation has impacted the cost of materials and labor, other inter-related factors in the implementation such as the Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC), and additional requirements by Korean Export-Import (KEXIM) Bank, among others.
“All these, the inflation, delay in the implementation, processes, and requirements are the reason why we have an increase in cost. The big factor is inflation due to the cost of materials and the exchange rate because our official currency in the loan is US dollars. The exchange rate when the loan was approved was PHP43 (for 1 USD), but by the time we implemented it, we were already at PHP50 plus,” Cordero said.
He added that the request for additional funds was approved in principle last July 19 because they were still waiting for the official resolution.
Meanwhile, Borres in his presentation before the IDC said the physical accomplishment of the project is now 68.56 percent complete as of this month.
“We are almost on the target despite the typhoon and rain,” he added.
The JRMP II consisted of the construction of a 109-meter high dam, a 38-meter afterbay dam, a 10-meter Alibunan River catch dam, and the 80.7 kilometers high line canal (HLC) that will traverse nine municipalities of Iloilo province.
To date, the high dam is at 99 meters, while two other dams are substantially completed with the afterbay dam already at 38.5 meters and the catch dam at 10 meters.
The HLC already covers 49.05 kilometers, equivalent to 60.75 percent of the target length.
Cordero said they are on track and will be operational by mid-2025.
Senator Imee R. Marcos in a press conference in Iloilo on Sunday, said irrigation becomes more important given the extreme weather conditions and climate change.
“It will probably be the first large-scale irrigation project in the Visayas. My father undertook several in Luzon but never had the opportunity or the time to finally reach the Visayas. So this would be groundbreaking and we cannot neglect this project but rather pursue it with greater vigor and with full support,” she said.
She added that the NIA should stipulate the amount needed "the soonest possible".
Once completed, the biggest dam outside Luzon will provide a year-round irrigation water to 9,500 hectares of new irrigable areas and rehabilitation of 22,340 hectares covered by five existing irrigation systems in 23 towns and two cities in the province of Iloilo.
It will also generate 6.6 megawatts of hydroelectric power and provide the needed bulk water supply for the city and province of Iloilo. (PNA)