CA ordered to hear petition vs Iloilo dam project

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Friday, January 10, 2014

MANILA -- The Supreme Court (SC) ordered the Court of Appeals (CA) to hear and decide on the petition seeking to stop the construction of an P11-billion dam in Iloilo.

The resolution came months after the SC issued last October a writ of kalikasan on the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP).

In his petition, former Iloilo Representative Augusto Syjuco Jr. said the project will displace 17,000 indigenous people, whose consent was allegedly falsified.

He noted that the IPs were not informed of the project’s environmental impacts as contained in the study of Dr. Ricarte Salgado Javelosa Sr., the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Rapid Geohazard Assessment and militant group Advocate of Science and Technology for the People (Agham).

Syjuco said the dam may also host predatory fish, malaria-carrying species and insects because it will supposedly kill the “upstream ecology of the dam from a free-flowing river ecosystem to an artificial slack-water reservoir habitat.”

He added that the MGB declared areas in the downstream and those near the river as highly susceptible to flooding.

JRMP, an irrigation facility designed with provisions for a hydro-electric power and bulk water supply, is supported by P8.95-billion development assistance from South Korea’s Export-Import Bank's Economic Cooperation Fund.

The government is expected to spend P2.2 billion.

Once completed, the first large-scale reservoir dam outside of Luzon will provide uninterrupted irrigation water supply to 32,000 hectares of farm land and benefit more than 783,000 farmers.

The dam is also expected to expand the production areas of sugarcane and other crops, supply electricity through the building of a 6.6-megawatt hydroelectric power plant, promote eco-tourism, provide potable water for homes and industries and employ 17,000 people. (Sunnex)

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