DA outlines major projects for North Luzon
By Danny O Sagun
Dagupan City (5 March) -- The Agno River Integrated Irrigation Project (ARIIP) and the P16.88 billion Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) are two major projects at the North Luzon Agribusiness Quadrangle (NLAQ) that will spur economic development not only for Pangasinan or Region 1 but also for other regions in Luzon, the Department of Agriculture said.
Acting Secretary Bernie Fondevilla reported to President Macapagal-Arroyo that the government is sharpening the competitive edge of NLAQ thru construction of major roads and bridges, ports and seaports, irrigation facilities, upgrading of airports, barangay electrification, flood control projects and food security thru the FIELDS program.
FIELDS stands for Fertilizers, Irrigation and other infrastructure like farm to market roads, Extension services and education for farmers, Loans, Dryers and post harvest facilities and Seeds - the six areas where government support are being channeled by the Arroyo government to attain food security and sufficiency, Fondevilla said.
NLAQ covers the Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera Administrative Region, and portions of Central Luzon particularly the northern parts of Aurora, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija and Zambales.
"Today, we have achieved gains in improving local farm productivity and have laid down the foundations to tap the high-end local and international markets for NLAQ's produce," he said.
The Chief Executive last Monday, March 1, inspected the newly-started civil works for the 88.6 kilometer-TPLEX project in barangay Tumana West in Rosales town. She said funding for the project is assured with the very active participation of the private sector in the government infrastructure program. The consortium Philippine Infrastructure Development Corporation (PIDC) will implement the project under the build-operate-transfer scheme.
Earlier, Presidential Management Staff chief Hermogenes Esperon and then agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap led the groundbreaking of the P4-billion-irrigation re-regulating pond in San Manuel town that will form part of the ARIIP. The pond, expected to be completed in three years, will catch waters used in power generation from the San Roque dam.
Last February 19, the President launched the Aeronautical Highway of the North at the Binalonan airfield. Passengers and cargo from less-traveled areas in the North will be served by the Sky Pasada transport system.
The Sual Port Development Project being undertaken by the Philippine Ports Authority, the provincial government and the local government of Sual will complement the development efforts in the north. Groundbreaking ceremonies were held last February 5. Designed to accommodate international vessels, the port is expected to be operational by 2012.
Land acquisition for the Alaminos Airport is also underway, City Mayor Hernani Braganza announced recently. The project was one of the Superregion projects outlined by the President's State of the Nation Address in 2007.
Several other projects are being implemented in the North Luzon Superregion to include upgrading and rehabilitation of major road networks, building and rehabilitation of airports and seaports, provision of composting facilities and farm-to-market roads, establishment of mariculture parks, flood control projects and barangay electrification. (PIA Pangasinan) [top]