PGMA lauds irrigation system in Floridablanca
Floridablanca, Pampanga (25 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo visited Tuesday barangay San Pedro, this town, to inspect the repaired and rehabilitated Porac-Gumain River Irrigation System (PGRIS) and assess the progress of the ongoing dredging of the waterway, and she did not get disappointed over what she saw and heard.
Upon her arrival and in the midst of cheers from spectators, the president said the irrigation system is one of her priority projects to help farmers in the area increase their production and income and boost the government's food security program which the administration has been continuously intensifying.
The Chief Executive got even delighted over what she heard from some farmer-beneficiaries who testified on the real benefits of the project.
Amando Ramos, 65, farmer from barangay San Pedro, Floridablanca and vice chairman of the San Pedro-Roque Irrigators' Association, got a big smile on his face when he thanked the President for standing up for the welfare of farmers, especially in the province of Pampanga.
Ramos told the President that he was able to send his 8 children to school and finished their college degrees thru his farming.
He recalled how hard the times had been when the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo ravaged the town which made the farmlands too unproductive due to lahar flows.
The PGRIS was heavily damaged during the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 which also destroyed the Gumain Dam and deposited tons of silt on the river.
Ramos said his family was hard-hit by the ruins of the Mt. Pinatubo considering that farming is his family's main source of income.
"Imagine how hard it was to send your children to school and tend to your family's daily sustenance with a harvest of just 10 cavans of rice for a period all due to the wrath of lahar?," Ramos expressed.
Romeo Pingul, also 65, another farmer-beneficiary from Lubao, for decades had been accustomed to using water pump in farming where he used to harvest about 80 cavans of palay.
With the irrigation system put in place, Pingul gladly reported to the President that his harvest per cropping now increased to140 cavans.
President Arroyo assured not only those farmers being catered by the PGRIS but all the farmers in the countryside that the government will continue to support them in terms of even lowering more the price of farm inputs such as pesticides, insecticides and fertilizer.
The PGRIS was constructed in 1957 to service 15 barangays in Lubao and 5 barangays in Floridablanca.
According to Engr. Angelito Miguel, provincial administrator of the National Irrigation Administration in Pampanga, the rehabilitation of the irrigation system which was completed 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.
Miguel said the NIA is hopeful that the rehabilitated irrigation system will open more economic opportunities and increase the income of farmers by ensuring good harvest even the dry season. (PIA) [top]