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PIA Press Release

WB to fund Upper Chico River irrigation system

TABUK CITY (22 September) -- The repair of the Upper Chico River Irrigation System (UCRIS) is expected to start soon with a P507 million loan from the World Bank (WB).

According to Kalinga Provincial Irrigation Management Office (K-PIMO) OIC Alfredo De Guzman Jr., the signing of the agreement between the WB and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines is expected this last quarter. He said the improvement work will be carried out until 2010, adding that the 4-year repair of UCRIS will be jointly implemented by National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and K-PIMO.

"The project is necessary in order to restore the system to its highest operational capacity and to support food security in the region," De Guzman said adding that hundreds of farmers particularly in Tabuk City depend on UCRIS for their irrigation needs. He informed that since its initial operation in 1986, no major repair has been undertaken on the irrigation system.

De Guzman said to maintain the status of Tabuk City as the rice granary of the Cordilleras and establish farming as a permanent source of livelihood of farmers, support facilities on agriculture must also be maintained," he said. The area irrigated by the system in Tabuk area alone is 9,057 and 9,083 hectares for the dry and wet seasons respectively out of the 17,551 hectares total irrigable target area.

Of the total project cost, P378.6 million will be spent on civil works where P218.4 M is allotted for the improvement of the canal system; P93.1 million on diversion works; P36.1 M on drainage facilities; P11.7 M on canal service roads; P15.7 M for farm level facilities; and P3.5 million for project facilities.

De Guzman said civil works aspects of the repair project include the construction of a dam operation bridge at the main dam and replacement of damaged and deteriorating parts of the sluiceway and intake gates.

It will also improve canal lining and upgrade canal embankment of selected sections of the main system and laterals. To improve the drainage system, the Chico siphon protection and outlet will be constructed together with settling basins along the Tuga-Gobgob main canal.

Major service roads will also be graveled alongside with the modification of turnouts and restoration of main farm ditches to upgrade farm level facilities.

The project has also an institutional component for the strengthening of Irrigators Associations (IAs) and support of local government units, De Guzman said. "P20.1 million is to be spent from the whole development package for the training of IAs and LGU stakeholders for their participation on shared responsibilities," he said.

Repair of the NIA-KPIMO main building and improvement of water master's working stations will also be done.

The rehabilitation project is under Phase I of the Participatory Irrigation Development Project (PIDP) of the NIA.

It can be recalled that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered the Cabinet cluster on national economic and development to fast-track, including repair of various infrastructure projects which are vital in sustaining the country's economic growth. (PIA-Kalinga) [top]

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