ILOILO CITY – The development of the relocation site intended for 35 families of indigenous peoples (IPs) affected by the PHP11.2-billion dam project of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) in Calinog, Iloilo is ongoing as competitive bidding for the construction of housing units is eyed within the second quarter of this year.
Steve Cordero, NIA information officer, said in an interview on Tuesday that the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) IP housing project is situated in Sitio Agburi, Barangay Cahigon, located three kilometers away from the barangay center.
The beneficiaries are those whose current residential houses are expected to be submerged during the filling up of the JRMP II high dam.
The site development activities include the provisions for community facilities, water system, and access roads to and from the resettlement site, Cordero said in a phone interview on Tuesday.
“The site went through technical assessment of relevant government agencies including the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) for hazards and other relevant risks and was eventually found to be conducive for residential housing hence, the resettlement site,” he said.
He added that the National Housing Authority (NHA) already turned over to NIA PHP15 million of its PHP20 million commitment as counterpart fund for the project on April 30 this year.
The PHP20-million fund will cover work components such as layout and excavation, concrete, masonry, roof and roof framing, carpentry, plumbing, doors and windows, tiles, painting, electrical with solar panels, and construction of project marker/pylon, Cordero added.
“The houses were designed by the relocatees /housing beneficiaries themselves with the assistance of NIA and NHA and have an approved floor area of 35 square meters in a 150 square meters lot,” he said.
While the housing unit is of mixed materials, which include concrete, wood, and galvanized roof, the houses will still exhibit the culture and tradition of the affected indigenous cultural communities, he added.
The housing project is expected to be completed and occupied in 2022 before the dam project is finished by 2023.
After the completion of the dam, he said it would still take one rainy season before the reservoir can be filled in.
After construction, NIA will facilitate the registration of housing lots under the names of housing beneficiaries.
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 megawatts of hydroelectric power, 86 million liters per day of bulk water supply for the province and city, and generate eco-cultural tourism opportunities and mitigate flooding in Calinog and nearby towns.
Eighty percent of the project cost is funded by the Government of South Korea through a tied loan with the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF). (PNA)