Drilon: Groups’ claims about Iloilo dam project baseless, unfounded

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SENATOR Franklin M. Drilon debunked claims of a few groups that the P11.2-billion Jalaur River Multi-Purpose River Project will lessen productivity of farmers and fisherfolks, and that the project, the biggest dam that will be constructed outside Luzon, will be sitting on an active fault line.

On the contrary, Drilon said the project will improve agricultural productivity which will be Iloilo’s contribution to rice self-sufficiency target of the government as it is expected to provide uninterrupted irrigation water supply to 32,000 hectares of farm land and benefit more than 783,000 farmers.

“This project will increase the irrigated lands in the region by around 10 percent and the annual regional rice production by around five percent. It will likewise expand the production areas of sugarcane and other crops,” explained Drilon.

“Aside from being one of the most significant green projects in Panay Island in the recent years because of its pro-environment features, this project will serve as a major step in improving the agricultural productivity and ultimately secure the rice self-sufficiency for the Philippines,” he said.

Drilon added that the project will also generate approximately 17,000 local jobs equivalent to P1.3 billion in basic wages per year.

Drilon also allayed fears of Pamalakaya, People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty and Ibon Foundation on the safety of the project, reiterating that the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) already issued a fault certification stating that the site of the project is not prone to ground rupture hazard brought about by movement of active fault line.

Citing a report from PHIVOLCS, Drilon said the proposed Jalaur main dam and reservoir is 11 kilometers away from the nearest active fault line in the area which is the West Panay Fault.

That, he added, is still farther than the distance of the Pantabangan Dam located across Pampanga River in Pantabangan Nueva Ecija to the nearest mapped Digdig Segment of the Philippine Fault. The measured distances of its main and secondary dams to the fault line are approximately 5.5 and 3.1 kilometers, respectively.

Quoting PHIVOLCS Director Renato U. Solidum Jr., Drilon said that even if one of the project’s component dams is situated 5km east of the fault, it is still safe from effects of an earthquake.

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