Yesterday, President Benigno S. Aquino III witnessed the signing of a $207.88 million loan agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the Republic of Korea, to support the implementation of the Jalaur River Multipurpose Irrigation Project Phase II of the Department of Agriculture–National Irrigation Administration. The project, advocated by Senator Franklin M. Drilon, will establish a large-scale reservoir in Iloilo Province—the first of its kind outside Luzon.
In a ceremony held at Malacañan Palace, Secretary Finance Cesar V. Purisima signed the Loan Agreement with Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) Executive Director Sang-Wan Byun in the presence of Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Philippines Hye Min Lee, Secretary of Agriculture Proceso J. Alcala, and Senator Drilon, a native of Iloilo and main proponent of the initiative.
The project entails the construction of a high dam and reservoir, an afterbay dam, a catch dam, a high line canal, and penstock in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo. In line with the Aquino administration’s rice self-sufficiency program, the project is proposed to increase irrigable lands in the region by 43 percent—from 22,340 hectares to 31,840 hectares—and provide year-round irrigation water to one of the key rice-producing areas of the country.
Twenty-five local government units are set to benefit from the project, through improved flood control systems, eco-tourism promotion, additional livelihood opportunities through aquaculture, increased productivity of other crops, and enhanced mobility of farm produce through the construction of access roads.
This loan agreement marks the largest financing assistance extended to any country for a single project by the South Korean government through its Economic Development Cooperation Fund since its establishment in 1987.