The actual construction of the PHP11.2 billion Jalaur River Multipurpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) in Calinog town is expected to start in January next year, according to Iloilo governor Arthur Defensor Sr.

On Wednesday, the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) has approved the consent to construct the project in their area.

Defensor said that the NCIP’s approval of the consent is a welcome development since it is needed in order to proceed with the construction of the said project.

However, Defensor clarified that the project will still have to undergo another three months of bidding. He explained that the JRMP II is a foreign assisted project and the funds will come from the Korea Export Import Bank (Eximbank).

The contractor who will implement this project should be a Korean contractor or a Korean company and the bidding should be in accordance with the Korean laws, Defensor explained.

As to the people who are opposing the project, Defensor said that he cannot expect unanimity in all events, undertakings, activities and all the functions of the government since we are in a democratic country.

We cannot expect everybody to agree with all that what we do in this government even how well meant is our program and our plans, Defensor further said.

The JRMP II is the biggest project of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).

Once completed, it could irrigate 32,000 hectares rice land which will also open the opportunity to improve the economy of Iloilo and to contribute to the country’s rice production since agriculture is a critical activity to improve the lives of the people.

Defensor pointed out that the Korean loan for the project has less than one percent interest which is very favorable to the Philippine government. (PNA)