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PIA Press Release

PGMA to assess progress of ongoing dredging of Porac-Gumain river

Manila (24 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will inspect today (Tuesday) the Porac-Gumain River Irrigation System Project in Floridablanca, Pampanga to assess the progress of the ongoing dredging of the waterway.

The irrigation system is one of her priority projects to help farmers in the area increase their production and income, as well as boost the government's food security program.

She will be briefed on the dredging operation by Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap and National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Administrator Carlos Salazar at the project's main irrigation canal in Barangay San Pedro, Floridablanca.

Some 2,500 residents and local officials led by presidential son and Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo, Lubao Mayor Dennis Pineda, Floridablanca Mayor Eduardo Guerrero, NIA Region 3 Director Manuel Collado and NIA Provincial Irrigation Manager Angelito Miguel are expected to welcome the President.

The Porac-Gumain River Irrigation System was constructed in 1957 to service 15 barangays in Lubao and five barangays in Floridablanca.

As years passed, however, the irrigation canals in the project's service area deteriorated and the irrigation system itself was heavily damaged during the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, which also destroyed the Gumain Dam and deposited tons of silt on the river.

The rehabilitation of the irrigation system, which started in April and was completed on August last year, resulted in the revival of 350 hectares of what used to be devastated farmlands benefiting 311 farmers within the project's service area.

Another 278 hectares outside the service area have been restored benefiting 173 farmers in two barangays in Floridablanca and three barangays in Lubao.

Last month, the President also inspected the Porac-Gumain river dredging operation during the ground breaking for the construction of a new four-lane, 280-meter long bridge in Barangay Sta. Cruz, Lubao.

When completed in March 2010, the P239-million dredging operation is expected to increase the irrigation service area and water holding capacity of the Porac-Gumain River.

The rehabilitation of the irrigation system and the parallel road projects are expected to open more economic opportunities and increase the income of farmers by ensuring good harvest even during the dry season and reduce the cost of transporting farm products. (PIA) [top]

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