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PIA Press Release
Saturday, January 14, 2012


NIA allots P472.3M for S. Cotabato, Gensan irrigation projects in 2012

by Dani Doguiles

KORONADAL CITY, Jan. 14 (PIA) -- A staggering P472,347,000 worth of irrigation projects are scheduled for implementation in South Cotabato and General Santos City this year, the provincial office of National Irrigation Administration announced yesterday.

Engr. Ramon Bugacia, irrigation management supervisor of NIA-South Cotabato said, this is so far the largest allocation they have received for irrigation development.

"In the previous years we only received allocations of P30 million to P40 million," Bugacia noted.

The largest portion, amounting to P138,225,000, is intended for massive repair and rehabilitation of the Ala River Irrigation System, which is scheduled to begin in May.

Implementation of the project would mean shutdown of the entire operation of the Ala RIS and consequent loss of water supply for an estimated 11,000 hectares of farmlands in South Cotabato and neighboring province of Sultan Kudarat, Bugacia said.

Ala RIS may be out of operation until October, he added.

Department of Agriculture-12 Regional Executive Director Amalia Jayag-Datukan has ordered provincial agriculture offices, NIA, and National Food Authority to plan out interventions to help affected farmers.

Interventions being considered include temporary shift to alternate crops such as corn and vegetables as well as increasing NFA’s buffer stock to 90 days, instead of the regular 30 days.

Besides Ala RIS, 23 other projects including repair and rehabilitation of existing irrigation systems, extension projects, and small irrigation projects are set for implementation in South Cotabato this year.

These include P27.18 million for extension of Banga RIS and Marbel#1 RIS and P11.68 million rehabilitation works for Banga RIS and Marbel #1 and Marbel #2 RISs.

Nine projects are also slated to be carried out this year in General Santos City area, Bugacia said.

Biggest among these is the lined item for Buayan-Tinagakan RIS amounting to P85.8 million.

Four expansion projects amounting to P16.98 million and another four repair projects amounting to P8.04 million will also be implemented in the area.

Bugacia said, these irrigation development projects are in accordance with the national governments' thrust toward rice self-sufficiency to "limit or discourage rice importation."

"Recently an initial P40 million fund have been downloaded to NIA regional office," he said, adding that these will be release after the necessary program of work have been submitted.(PIA 12)

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