Ground was broken on the PHP11.2bn ($216m) Jalaur River Multipurpose Project (JRMP) II in Calinog, Iloilo in the Philippines.
This is also the largest dam outside Luzon.
The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) organised the programme at Barangay Agcalaga, Calinog, and was led by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.
Drilon said that the implementation of the dam is a “fulfilment of the impossible dream of the Ilonggos”.
Once completed, the dam is expected to improve the lives of 25,000 farmers by doubling rice production to nearly 300,000 tonnes per year and improving the average yield of farmlands to 5.1 tonnes per hectare.
The dam will also provide 86,400m³ of potable water daily and generate 6.6MW of hydroelectric power.
The JRMP II is expected to provide jobs to 17,000 workers during the construction over the next three years.
The South Korean government has granted PHP8.9bn ($172m) fund for the dam through its Economic Cooperation Development Fund (EDCF) and the Philippines government is contributing PHP2.2bn ($42m).
Korean construction firm, Daewoo Engineering and Construction, will implement the project.
The project includes the 109m Jalaur High Dam, 38.5m Afterbay Dam, 10m Alibutan Catch Dam and the 80.74km Highline Canal, which will be constructed simultaneously.
Drilon said that together with NIA, he “personally defended” the construction of the project in a petition for Writ of Kalikasan in the Court of Appeals and even though the ground-breaking ceremony was postponed several times, the NIA has worked as scheduled.
He said: “The groundbreaking is only a ceremonial event which formally signals the start and therefore, no one is prejudiced when resetting of the groundbreaking because what is important is the NIA had started three months ago in accordance with the timetable.”
NIA Administrator General Ricardo Visaya said that the implementation of the dam meant justice to farmer beneficiaries.
He said: “With confidence, we look forward to the inauguration of this project in 2022.”
South Korea’s Minister-Counsellor and head of Economic Trade and Official Development Assistance Department Sonyoung Kim said: “Today is a very important milestone not only because of the start of the construction but of the long-lasting benefit this project will bring for the province of Iloilo.”
Image: Construction begins on phase 2 of $216m Jalaur dam project in Philippines. Photo: Courtesy of National Irrigation Administration / Republic of the Philippines.