The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) En Banc headed by Commissioner Leonor T. Oralde-Quintayo has issued a Certification Precondition for the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project II (JRMPP II) which is a prerequisite before the actual project construction could start.

Atty. Dennis Ventilacion, Iloilo Provincial Legal Officer, said that it took them sometime with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to be able come up with the documentary requirements in compliance with the procedure and process requirements needed for the issuance of the Certification Precondition and the Free and Prior Informed Consent as prescribed under the NCIP Administrative Order No. 03, Series of 2012.

He said during the press conference Thursday that the certification serves as final clearance so that NIA, which will undertake the mega dam project in Calinog, Iloilo province, could proceed with the bidding and award the notice to proceed to the winning contractor by November or December this year.

The mega dam is a joint project of the Philippine and Korean government and the Korean Export-Import Bank (Exim), with a project investment of Php11.212 billion. Being internationally funded, it will not be covered by the 2016 election ban for project implementation and since the project will be funded by the Korea Eximbank then the bidding will be done among Korean firms with the local construction firms only possibly getting subcontracts.

Atty. Ventilacion said that since the Iloilo provincial government is a signatory to a Memorandum of Agreement the project being a convergence initiative then the provincial government is helping the NIA seek the certification.

The Certification Precondition covers 16 indigenous peoples communities in 16 barangays of Calinog town and is issued after a field based investigation conducted by the Ancestral Domains Office.

The project covers the Ancestral Domain of the Halawodnon-Bukidnon and Panay-Bukidnon that gave their nod to the project provided they be given electrification, water system, and access road construction that are now being started with the timeframe until 2019 for realization of concerned national government agencies.

The NCIP En Banc in issuing the certification then cited on its resolution, Whereas, after due deliberation of the FPIC Reports and other related documents for the proposed project, the presentation of the evaluation and Recommendation Report of the Ancestral Domains Office, and testimonial accounts of the invited resource persons, the commission found that the procedures and process requirements for the conduct of free and prior informed consent and issuance of Certification Precondition are in accordance with the NCIP Administrative Order No. 03, Series of 2012 , otherwise known as the FPIC Guidelines of 2012.(PNA)