Flooding to worsen because of Jalaur mega dam

ILOILO City – The Jalaur River for the People’s Movement (JRPM) strongly believes that the annual flooding in Iloilo province will worsen if the Jalaur mega dam is built in the hinterland of Calinog town.

“The recent Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Region 6 report of flood-prone areas confirms that flooding in the province is consistent in towns traversed by the Jalaur river,” JRPM spokesperson Mary Grace Lobaton said.

The MGB identified the towns of Zarraga, Pavia, Dumangas, Leganes, Barotac Nuevo, Pototan, Dingle, San Enrique, Passi City and Calinog as the Top 10 flood-prone municipalities in the province of Iloilo.

Jalaur River is one of the 3 major river basins of the province of Iloilo, with a basin area of 1,742 square kilometers and the 17th largest river system in the Philippines. The river travels 123 kilometers from its source to its mouth in the Guimaras Strait. It drains on the eastern portion of the island and traverses through Passi City, and the towns of Leganes, Zarraga, Dumangas, Barotac Nuevo, Pototan, Dingle, Dueñas, and Calinog.

“If the Jalaur mega dam construction continues, surely these towns will greatly suffer when the dam opens its gates during heavy rainfall, especially this La Niña season,” Lobaton continued.

“Typhoons Frank and Quinta are the recent worst experiences we have on flooding,” Lobaton explained.

“In 2008, at least 500 were killed when typhoon Frank hit the Philippines. According to reports, in Iloilo province, 59 are reportedly killed and 40 went missing and in Iloilo City, 30,000 people were forced on their rooftops.”

“While when typhoon Quinta hit on December 2012, initially the towns of Calinog, San Enrique, Duenas and Dingle are flooded. At this time, the Moroboro dam in Dingle is still closing its dam gates,” Lobaton said.

“But by the time it opened its gates, the following towns were flooded: Pototan, Barotac Nuevo, New Lucena, Dumangas, and Zarraga. The Moroboro dam is about 40 meters in height. Worst is expected if the 106-meter Jalaur dam in the hinterland of Calinog will do the same,” Lobaton said.

JRPM encourages the people in the downstream area to oppose the project because “our lives are in danger and ultimately the loss of our livelihood and our lives.”

JRPM will be holding an International Solidarity Mission (ISM) this July 16-18 that seeks to broaden the support from the international community in opposing the construction of the Jalaur mega dam and place additional strong pressure on the Philippine and Korean governments and Korean Export Import bank to further delay or, at the most, stop the construction of the project./PT

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