NIA to fast track Ilocos Sur's P2.4-B irrigation project

January 28, 2010 10:47 pm 

By Freddie G. Lazaro

BANTAY, Ilocos Sur, Jan. 28 – The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) accepted the challenge of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to fast track the completion of the P2.4-billion Banaoang Pump Irrigation Project here.

The President made the challenge when she visited the project on Wednesday after coming from Ilocos Norte where she inaugurated the P576.8-million Sarrat Bridge across the Laoag-Pagsaan River.

NIA Administrator Carlos Salazar reported to the President that the project is now 87 percent complete but he said they will do everything they can so that it will be completed on April 5, the Chief Executive's birthday.

In her visit to Ilocos Sur, President Arroyo was joined by Secretary Hermogenes Esperon of the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) and was welcomed by Deputy National Security Adviser Luis Chavit Singson, Governor Deogracias Victor “DV” B. Savellano and Rep. Ronald V. Singson (1st District of Ilocos Sur).

“We need to fast tract the completion of this pump irrigation project because this will address the perennial problem of agriculture sector on insufficiency of water for growing crops," Mrs. Arroyo said.

She said the project will also mitigate the effect of the El Nino in the province.

Salazar disclosed that even if the pump irrigation is not yet finished, it is already irrigating more than 1,000 hectares of land due to its impounded water coming from rainfall and small creeks.

Construction of the Banaoang Pump Irrigation Project started in March 2003 or just more than two years of the presidency of Mrs. Arroyo.

The source of fund for the project is a loan from the People’s Republic of China and is being implemented by the China Agricultural Machinery Import/Export Company (CAMCI).

The irrigation project will service about 6,312 hectares of agricultural lands covering the towns of Bantay, Sta. Catalina, San Ildefonso, Caoayan, Magsingal, Sto. Domingo, San Vicente and Vigan City and will benefit 5,334 farm households.

The pump irrigation projects has the following features: installed seven electric powered pumps, 1.4-kilometer tunnel; 87 kilometers main canal and lateral canals, 310 kilometers main and supplementary farm ditches, 87 kilometers operation and maintenance roads and 170 kilometers drainage canals.

“The project aims to help boost the production of 72,900 metric tons of milled rice annually from seven towns and one city in the first district of Ilocos Sur,” Salazar said. (PNA)

LAP/lvm/FGL/rma

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