Aquino Hits Two Birds With One Stone In Senatorial Campaign

ILOILO CITY, Iloilo (PNA) - President Benigno S. Aquino III made assurances that he is not spending people's money while accompanying the Liberal Party (LP)'s Team PNoy senatorial bets in campaigning for the May 13 mid-term elections around the country.

"I am very particular about expenses," he underlined, even as he said that "it is really my job to see what's happening in the country" and that the Presidential Security Guards (PSG) and his staff accompanying him are there "to help me in perform my functions."

The President made that comment in answer to critics' views that he is spending people's money while gracing rallies and other activities included in Team PNoy's political campaigns.

He was in Iloilo yesterday for the groundbreaking of the R11.2-billion Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II).

The President also said while he did talk with local leaders earlier in Cebu, that particular visit was highlighted by his checking up on the the Mactan Newtown investment expected to generate 25,000 jobs in the area.

In Iloilo, Team PNoy senatorial candidates held grand rallies in Dumangas and Pavia towns and attended, as well the ceremonial groundbreaking of the JRMP II with the President who conveyed his appreciation for the major project's international partners, particularly the Eximbank of Korea which granted the soft loan for the project.

The President was assisted by Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso Alcala, Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Sec. Joseph Emilio Abaya, Senator Franklin M. Drilon, Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr., and former Iloilo Gov. Niel D. Tupas Sr., in lowering the time capsule for the multi-billion-peso JRMP II project before a huge crowd of capitol employees and residents.

In his speech, he underlined the projects gains, including increased rice production in Iloilo, sufficient electricity for Ilonggos, jobs generation, food security, and overall improvement in economic conditions for both Iloilo city and province.

For his part, Drilon pointed out that the JRMP is the first large-scale reservoir dam outside of Luzon which is set for completion before the President's term ends in 2016. Bidded out to Korean contractors, JRMP II, once finished, will provide year-round irrigation for increased agricultural production in 22,340 hectares of the five existing irrigation systems and 9,500 hectares of rain-fed areas.

The specific objectives of the project will be the construction of a 6.6-megawatt hydro-electric power plant aimed at supplementing Iloilo's power supply, augment the supply of quality and potable water for domestic and industrial consumption, and the realization of other such benefits flooding mitigation and promotion of eco-tourism in selected dam/reservoir areas.

Alcala also said other benefits to be gained through the project includes increased rice and crop production of 141,945 tons to 287,958 tons per annum; sugarcane from 112,250 tons to 150,000 tons per annum; supply of 86,400 metric tons of clean water per day; 6.6-megawatt additional power supply for selected municipalities in Panay; and potential supply of up to two metric tons per second of bulk water.