ILOILO – South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Han Dong-man lauded the start of the construction of the P11.2-billion Jalaur River Multipurpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) in Calinog, Iloilo funded by the Korean government.
The construction commended after the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) issued a “notice to proceed” to the winning Korean contractor Daewoo Engineering and Construction Co., Ltd. (Daewoo) on Nov. 29, 2018.
In his speech during the inauguration of the Male Medical Ward of Dr. Ricardo S. Provido Sr. Memorial District Hospital in Calinog in the morning of Dec. 6, Han expressed hope that the project will bring more progress to Iloilo and its neighboring provinces.
“There is no doubt that the Jalaur multipurpose project will enhance the quality of life in Iloilo, provide more irrigation, and eventually enhance food productivity,” he said.
Representatives of Daewoo were also invited during the inauguration and got the chance to have a tête-à-tête with the ambassador.
In his Dec. 6 afternoon lecture for the Saemaul Undong Village Movement at Casa Real de Iloilo, Han reported the probability of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte leading the groundbreaking ceremony for the megadam project in January next year.
The Korea Export-Import Bank is funding the project through an P8.9-billion loan. The Philippine government has a counterpart of P2.2 billion.
JRMP II covers the construction of 109-meter Jalaur High Dam, 38.5-meter Afterbay Dam, 10-meter Alibutan Catch Dam, 80.74-kilometer Highline Canal, and its appurtenant structures.
Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr. expressed deep gratitude to the ambassador for the millions of assistance that the Korean government has extended to Iloilo. These include their aid during the devastation of Supertyphoon Yolanda, assistance to the district hospitals through the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), among others.
“We can no longer quantify the assistance that Korea has given to the province of Iloilo. We lack words to appropriately express our gratitude to you,” Defensor said.
The Ambassador stressed that the assistance extended by the Korean government is their way of thanking the Filipinos who helped them during the Korean war in the 1950s.
He recalled that during the war, the Philippines sent about 7,000 troops, including late president Fidel V. Ramos to assist them.
“Korea would not be enjoying peace, democracy and economic prosperity without the noble help of Filipino war veterans. So we cannot forget their sacrifice, devotion, and dedication,” he said.
He added that during the 1960s and 1970s, Korea used to be one of the poorest countries in the world. And the Philippines is among the foreign countries that extended assistance to them.
“There is a Korean saying, “A friend in need is a friend indeed. That’s why it’s time for Korea to pay its debt by providing many assistance,” he said. (LHC, Capitol news/PN)