ILOILO CITY – The pandemic failed to hamper the implementation of the PHP11.2-billion Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) in Calinog, Iloilo which is 37.83 percent complete as of end-March this year.
Citing the report of the JRMP II Project Monitoring Office (PMO), National Irrigation Administration (NIA) information officer Steve Cordero said the physical project completion is ahead by 6.11 percent against its target of 31.71 percent.
NIA serves as the chief implementing agency of the project.
“Somehow, we are confident that we can reach our target to complete the project by the first quarter of 2023 given the progress of our contractors,” he said in a phone interview Wednesday.
Cordero said project contractors are trying to cope as there are minor delays due to restrictions imposed by local and national governments because of the coronavirus pandemic.
He added some supplies and experts still need to come from abroad.
Currently, construction works in the Jalaur High dam, Afterbay dam, and Alibunan River catch dam for irrigation development and clearing and excavating, and simultaneous construction of canals and siphons in municipalities of Calinog, Lambunao, Janiuay and Cabatuan for the 81-kilometer high line canal that will traverse nine towns in Iloilo province are ongoing, he said.
Contractor Daewoo Engineering and Construction is also working on the foundation of the 109-meter Jalaur High dam that will serve as an impounding dam of the project.
Further, the development of the resettlement site for 35 houses in Barangay Cahigon, Calinog is also ongoing.
The project is in partnership with the National Housing Authority (NHA) for Indigenous People’s (IPs) who will be affected by the project.
Meanwhile, Cordero said NIA has issued directives to ensure that health protocols are observed while construction works are ongoing.
A multi-partite monitoring team is also looking into the health activities of contractors, including compliance to Covid-19 protocols.
He added that following the confirmation of Covid-19 positive cases at the project site of the Daewoo Engineering and Construction, NIA has ordered the contractor to comply with the temporary closure and work stoppage issued by the local government of Calinog.
NIA also temporarily closed its field office in the said town to give way to the contact tracing and disinfection activities of the local government unit (LGU).
“As of now, we are still closed until now and contact tracing and swab testing of Daewoo personnel are ongoing. On the side of NIA, we have completed the conduct of a swab test for our employees with direct contact to Daewoo and it turned out that they are negative from Covid-19,” he added.
Cordero said their engineers are still calculating the impact of the temporary closure. If there is, the contractor may then also request for time extension later on because the “pandemic is not their making”.
JRMP II, which is the biggest irrigation project outside of Luzon, is expected to provide irrigation to 31, 840 hectares of farmlands in Iloilo, generate 6.6-megawatt hydroelectric power and 86 million liters per day bulk water supply for the province and city, generate eco-cultural tourism opportunities, and mitigate flooding in Calinog and nearby towns.
It currently generates employment opportunities for Ilonggos.
Eighty percent of the cost of the JRMP II is funded by the government of South Korea through a tied loan with the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF). (PNA)