URDANETA CITY (Nov. 20) — The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) backed out as financier of the irrigation component of the San Roque Multi-Purpose dam as a result of the killing of peasant leader Jose Doton.
Proposed some 10 years ago, the irrigation component of the San Roque dam has yet to be implemented. Only the energy generation and flood mitigation componenets of the project were realized.
Progressive groups opposed to the San Roque dam construction reportedly lobbied against the continuation of the project prompting JBIC to withdraw.
National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Regional Director John Celeste said the project needs at least P2.5 billion. He said the government is trying to attract other possible sources of funding like China.
The proposed budget for 2008 allocates some P250 million for the Agno River Integrated Irrigation Project (ARIIP). It was not clear, however, if the money will be used to start construction of the pond, to rehabilitate existing irrigation canals or to build new ones.
ARIIP is projected to irrigate about 35,000 hectares under Phase 1 and another 35,000 hectares under Phase 2 or a total of 70,000 hectares of rice lands in Pangasinan and Tarlac.
The NIA pond was named as one of the priority projects of the Arroyo administration under the North Luzon Super Region program. # Danny O. Sagun/PIA-Pangasinan