PH to receive largest assistance fund from S. KoreaBy Riza T. Olchondra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Philippines and South Korea are set to sign an agreement that will cover an P11.21-billion irrigation project during the 45th Asian Development Bank (ADB) Annual Meeting of the board of governors in Manila.
According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), the Iloilo project will be the largest to be supported by the Korea Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) worldwide.
In a statement, the NEDA said that concerned Philippine and Korean agencies have wrapped up meetings on the second phase of the Jalaur River Multipurpose Project in Iloilo and are ready to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on May 4.
Of the project’s total approved cost of P11.21 billion, some P8.95 billion will be financed through an official development assistance (ODA) loan from EDCF.
Implementing agencies of the project are the Department of Agriculture and National Irrigation Administration.
“The Jalaur River Multipurpose Project Phase II is one of the first batches of projects, and biggest of the three irrigation projects, approved by the NEDA board this year. It is a ground-breaking venture in terms of scale and importance in facilitating the increase in food production and ensuring food security in the country,” NEDA Deputy Director-General Rolando G. Tungpalan said.
NEDA said Tungpalan led the wrap-up meeting and signing of the minutes of discussion with officials of the Export-Import Bank of Korea (Korea EximBank) and other Philippine government officials last April 20.
The minutes of discussion will be the basis of the agreement to be signed.
The Jalaur River Multipurpose Project Phase II involves the construction of a storage dam, a high dam, and reservoir across the Jalaur River. Other structures will be established in support of a hydroelectric power plant to be built in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo, for a potential bulk water supply connection with the Metro Iloilo Water District.
The project is expected to irrigate 22,340 hectares of farmland, thereby increasing yields of palay and other crops in the area.
“Hopefully, this project will set the benchmark for other government projects in terms of speed, efficiency and, eventually, the effectiveness by which a project will be executed,” Tungpalan said.
On March 22, the NEDA board, chaired by President Aquino, approved three irrigation projects including the Jalaur River Multipurpose Project Phase II, the Umayam River Irrigation Project and the Irrigation Component Phase II of the Casecnan Multipurpose Irrigation and Power Project.
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