Drilon: don’t use my name to bag mega dam contracts

THE materials and supply depot of Korean firm Daewoo Engineering and Construction, the contractor of the P11-billion Jalaur mega dam at Barangay Agcalaga, Calinog, Iloilo. (Emme Rose Santiagudo)

By: Jennifer P. Rendon


Senator Franklin Drilon on Feb 27, 2019 warned against individuals who would broker and use his name to bag contracts for supplies and other materials intended for the P11.2-billion Jalaur River Multipurpose Project (JRMP) II in Calinog, Iloilo.

“You cannot prevent politicians from intervening. But I assure you, I have not intervened in this project or in any projects. And I have no intention to intervene,” Drilon said in a press conference after the ground breaking and capsule laying ceremony of JRMP II in Calinog on Wednesday.

The Ilonggo lawmaker said Engr. Gerardo Corsiga, NIA-6 regional manager and concurrent JRMP II project manager, will call the shots in coordination with Daewoo.

Korean construction firm Daewoo Engineering and Construction implements the project after clinching the International Competitive Bidding (ICB).

“Let me put on record that Daewoo and Director Corsiga should never allow anyone to drop our names or that of Administrator Visaya because all that we want is that this project be done in accordance with specifications and within the budget and without any taints of corruption or undue influence by any politician,” Drilon said.

National Irrigation Administration head Gen. Ricardo Visaya (Retired) was with Drilon when the latter made the declaration.

He also encouraged the public to report to them any person who will try to use their names just to gain advantage in landing a JRMP II contract.

“We will personally take the matter seriously and see what we can do,” Drilon said.

It was not discussed, though, who were the politicians who tried to broker any JRMP II-related contract.

Even Visaya admitted that there are people who resort to name-dropping in a bid to corner juicy contracts for supplies and materials for the biggest dam project outside Luzon.

Earlier reports from various sources indicated that some local politicians, through alleged dummies, are supplying construction materials for the mega dam project.

But Visaya said this name-dropping was to naught as they “are all cooperative because they know the benefits that they will receive.”

Meanwhile, Drilon said his statement should serve as a warning to anyone who would try to do unfair business at the expense of JRMP II.

“We warn anyone who have other motives in mind, particularly profit motive, that we will not tolerate any shenanigans on this project,” he said.

Drilon said he and Visaya would take reports of any impediment to the project seriously.

“Our only objective is to finish this project without any allegations of corruption. We want to finish this project on time and in accordance with specifications and within budget,” he said.

Meanwhile, the concept of subcontracting is something that should be decided by Daewoo, not other officials, Drilon said.

Drilon led the groundbreaking and capsule laying ceremony at Barangay Agcalaga, Calinog, together with Visaya; Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Sr.; Deog-Young Shujn, Senior Executive Director of the Export-Import Bank of Korea; and Minister-Councilor Sunyoung Kim, head of Economic, Trade, and ODA Department of South Korean government.

The project is the largest water reservoir that will be constructed outside Luzon.

It also serves as NIA’s flagship project in the Visayas.

The dam is seen to bring “mega” benefits by way of bulk water supply, hydroelectric power, and eco-tourism opportunities during its 4-year implementation.

The primary areas that will be service by the project are the towns of Calinog, Lambunao, Badiangan, Janiuay, Cabatuan, Sta. Barbara, Pavia, Alimodian, Leon, San Miguel, Oton, Tigbauan, Dueñas, San Enrique, Anilao, Dingle, Barotac Nuevo, Dumangas, Mina, New Lucena, Pototan, Zarraga, and Leganes and Passi City, and Iloilo City.

The South Korean government, through the Export-Import Bank’s Economic Development Cooperation, extended a $208-million loan to the project under its Official Development Assistance program.

The Philippine government’s counterpart is P2.2 billion.