P878-M multi-purpose dam in Nueva Ecija inaugurated
By Marilyn Galang / Philippine News Agency
GENERAL TINIO, Nueva Ecija – On top of irrigating 700.87 hectares of ricefield in at least four villages in two towns of this province, the newly-constructed Upper Tabuating Small Reservoir Irrigation Project (SRIP) was designed for aquaculture, tourism, and cash crops and energy production, according to National Irrigation Administration (NIA) chief Ricardo Visaya on Tuesday.
Leading the inauguration of the PHP878-million dam in Barangay Nazareth here, Visaya said the NIA has been expanding irrigation projects from mere watering ricefields to support cash crops and energy production, among others.
Visaya, along with NIA deputy administrator for Administrative and Finance Ret. Major Gen. Romeo Gan, Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation System (UPRIIS) department manager Rosalinda Bote, Nueva Ecija Fourth Dist. Rep. Maricel Nagaño, Mayor Isidro Pajarillaga of this town, and provincial human resource chief Roseten Tugaff, led the release of 12,000 tilapia fingerlings into the reservoir.
The NIA administrator said at least PHP30-billion worth of irrigation projects in Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, and Abra are among the biggest projects the agency has in the pipeline.
Such projects, which were originally proposed during the Marcos administration, are now at the National Economic Development Authority, he said.
Visayas and Mindanao have also one each in the pipeline, he said.
"Multi-purpose ito. Kasi dito rin manggagaling yung inumin natin. Dito rin manggagaling yung kuryente natin. So, kailangan natin ng malalaking dam (This is multi-purpose because this is where the potable water will come from. This is also the source of electricity. So, we need big dams)," Visaya said in a press briefing at the dam site.
He also said that only 62 percent of the country's 3.1 million hectares of irrigable areas are so far irrigated.
"We cannot stop from constructing big dams and reservoirs," he added.
Visaya noted that the Inter-Agency Task Force against Covid-19 has granted NIA to continue implementing projects amid the pandemic, owing to the importance of the agency's role in food production.
Nagaño and Pajarillaga lauded NIA for the Upper Tabuating SRIP, saying this will uplift the lives of local farmers.
The number of people in illegal logging activities in this town has dramatically decreased after livelihood projects were introduced, including the planting of trees and bamboo in huge spaces and ancestral domains, Pajarillaga said.
Bote said they have been planting and protecting trees in the dam's watershed area since December last year.
The Upper Tabuating water reservoir project will irrigate farms in Barangays Nazareth, Rio Chico, Bago, and San Mariano in the municipalities of Gen. Tinio and Peñaranda.
Officially completed last December, the dam was able to irrigate the entirety of its target service areas of 700.87 hectares this dry crop season, Bote said. (PNA)