The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) broke ground for some a total of P1.2 billion in two small reservoir impounding projects (SRIP) that would critically boost Bohol’s rice production in the region.
No less than NIA Administrator Ricardo Visaya and Boholano Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco led local and NIA officials in breaking ground for the P595,000,000.00 Benliw SRIP in Ubay and the P620,000,000.00 Bonotbonot SRIP in Buenavista, on Monday.
Visaya, who has just recently pegged his third month as administrator of the country’s top agriculture infrastructure agency said it is his first time to officiate a groundbreaking event at NIA and two ground breading events in a day at that, all in Bohol.
This is the third ground breaking activity in Bohol [under the Duterte administration] in 2017, and it would be the only one [province] in the country [to have this chance], the former army officer who had 37 years of decorated military service pointed out.
Last May, NIA also broke ground for a P725 million Cayacay-Mabini SRIP.
Benliw SRIP relies on its water source from Pasanan Creek, and the water collected would serve 400 hectares of rice fields in Ubay barangays of Benliw, Imelda, Cagting and Sinandigan through its irrigation package.
The irrigation system would directly benefit an estimated 600 farmers and their families, NIA said.
The Benliw SRIP would submerge some 5.6 square kilometers but would have a live storage capacity of 2.86 million cubic meters of water, the project brief showed.
In fact, NIA 7 Regional Manager Engr. Modesto Membreve shared that the water impounding could also serve as a venue for aquaculture, power generation, water supply and soil conservation.
A dam in the region would also help the communities in their flood control and mitigation, NIA said.
Ubay Mayor Constantino Reyes, who led local officials in welcoming their NIA officials and farmer beneficiaries cited that the dam in Benliw would play a key role in the town’s poverty alleviation.
From our un-used cogonal lands, we can convert it now to rice fields, the mayor pointed out adding that it would strategically boost the people’s goal of helping attain rice sufficiency in Bohol.
On the other hand, both Evasco and NIA Administrator Visaya also led the local officials and irrigators association officials in breaking ground for the Bonotbonot SRIP in the early afternoon of June 26 at Barangay Rufo Hill.
Engineers would be tapping the Maubid Creek and put up a zoned earth fill dam rising up to 28 meters in height to collect 5.372 million cubic meters of water to irrigate rice lands.
Covering a catchment area of 12.96 kilometers, Bonotbonot SRIP would benefit farms of Bonotbonot, Cangawa, Buga-ong, Bato, Sweetland and Lapacan Norte, Engr. Membreve said.
Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco on the other hand pointed out that the government is not just responding to the needs of communities, but also putting up opportunities to grow economies.
Citing the provision of irrigation systems as a way of attaining rice sufficiency, he said the Duterte Administration did not have second thoughts about supporting the project.
With the irrigation facility, we do not rely on the rains now, Evasco, who noticed that the farmers in the catchment area now covered by the facility has been farming for decades depending on the rains.
The irrigation, he said would increase the farmers’ average harvest per hectare to 5,146 tons from the current 455 tons.
Aside from the demand for peace and order as well as streamlined democracy while ridding corruption, the Duterte Administration has also vowed to respond to the economy of the stomach; putting up of anti-poverty measures like irrigation facilities, education and public infrastructure have been top spending priorities.
In Bohol, the latest SRIPs also effectively reduce the possible irrigation development potential of Bohol to just 19,400 hectares, Visaya said. (PIA)