PGMA orders AFP engineers to complete Lanao Sur irrigation project
Manila (18 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Wednesday, February 17, 2010, in Masiu, Lanao del Sur ordered military engineers under Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) chief Lt. General Delfin Dolorfino to complete the Malaig Irrigation Project in the adjacent town of Butig, which was suspended due to the activities of rogue Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Commander Bravo.
The project, which was among the major irrigation projects mentioned in the President's 2006 State of the Nation Address, is part of the government's goal to increase farm productivity in Agribusiness Mindanao super region, one of five growth corridors aimed at maximizing the country's strengths in agriculture and agribusiness, information technology, and tourism.
The President also instructed Public Works Secretary Vic Domingo to start within two weeks construction work on the long-stalled Lake Lanao Circumferential Road, which was conceptualized during a visit there decades back by the President's father, the late President Diosdado Macapagal.
"Secretary Domingo said the equipment are ready and the project already awarded to the winning contractor," the President told the faculty and students of Unda Memorial National Agricultural School (UMNAS) in the afternoon of that day.
The President said the project would complement the P9 billion worth of farm-to-market roads (FMRs) established in Mindanao since 2001.
The President said her administration has made huge investments in Mindanao to improve the island's standard of living and to sustain peace.
"Ang Mindanao ay panggagalingan ng pagkain ng Pilipinas. Namumuhunan tayo sa Mindanao sa bawat antas dahil tangi ang pamumuhunan sa pag-asa at hindi sa takot ang magbibigay ng kalayaan sa rehiyon at lumago ng lumago at yumaman," the President said.
To develop Mindanao's agribusiness potential, the President said government agencies have provided low-cost fertilizers, composting facilities, certified and hybrid seeds, and built irrigation systems, bridges, and farm-to-market roads.
In the last four years, the President said almost 400,000 hectares of farmlands have been irrigated to spur agricultural activity in Mindanao. including Lanao del Sur.
The President also instructed Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Horacio Ramos to help the more than 800 students of UMNAS establish their own materials recovery facility (MRF) to convert garbage into organic fertilizers.
The President said government has invested more than 300 MRFs in Mindanao but every barangay needs to have one under the Solid Waste Management Act.
The President also told the students that some 700 dryers have been provided to Mindanao as part of the more than 2,000 post-harvest facilities given nationwide.
The President said loans amounting to P161 billion have been released by Land Bank of the Philippines to farmers in the past nine years was double that of the past three administrations.
The President said 46 billion of these loans for farmers went to Mindanao to enable farmer beneficiaries to develop their capacities to invest more in agribusiness.
The President said more than 1,000 barangays have also been provided with electricity in the region.
To improve market access in the region, some P51.68 billion was spent for the establishment of 37,734 linear meters of bridges and the construction and improvement of 6,557 kilometers of main arteries and farm-to-market roads.
To increase productivity, the government has also provided 4.38 million bags of certified seeds and 505,963 bags of hybrid seeds.
Fifteen mariculture parks have also been established in Mindanao, including in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, that enabled small fisherfolk to breed high-value marine species.
In 2008 to 2009 alone, more than 1,000 farmers and agricultural extension workers have gone through 36,620 various technology trainings on modern farming.
To provide a faster mode of transporting agricultural inputs and outputs in the Mindanao super region, five new seaports and one roll-on roll-off (RoRo) port have been constructed; while 33 others have been upgraded, including 10 RoRo ports amounting to about P5.44 billion.
Since 2001, 21 existing airports have been improved with a total worth of P26.89 billion.
During her visit, the President also inaugurated the newly constructed three-storey Masiu municipal hall and led the groundbreaking ceremonies of the town's P8-million potable water system project of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA).
The President then proceeded to the next town of Taraka to inaugurate its P3.5-million public market and the start of construction works on its P30-million potable water system.
Masiu Mayor Nasser Pangandaman Jr. and Tarakan Mayor Amenodin Sumagayan thanked the President for the projects.
The two mayors said these projects would help them deliver basic services and free their constituents from diarrhea and other diseases as a result of sourcing their water from springs and rivers.
The President said all these projects would soon lift Lanao del Sur from being among the 10 hungriest provinces in the country.
Aside from Secretaries Ramos and Domingo, the President was accompanied by Press Secretary Crispulo Icban Jr, and Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman.
Among those who warmly welcomed the President there were more than 2,000 students, residents and local officials led by ARMM Acting Governor Ansaruddin Adiong, his brother Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr., Lanao del Sur 1st District Rep. Faysah Dumarpa, 2nd District Rep. Pangalian Balindong, and UMNAS principal Dipangampong Unda. (PIA) [top]