PGMA to commission P3.6-B Bayongan Dam
by Rey Anthony Chiu
Tagbilaran City (11 October) -- PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal Arroyo arrives here tomorrow, October 12, to commission and unveil the markers of an irrigation facility eyed to add more than 5000 hectares of ricelands and boost Bohol's dream of emerging as the rice basket in Central Visayas.
When she comes, it would be her fourth time in Bohol this year.
The president would formally commission the Bohol Irrigation Project Phase II or the Bayongan Dam in San Miguel town, some 88 kilometers from Tagbilaran City.
Arriving at about 10:00 am by presidential chopper from Benito Ebuen Airport in Mactan, Cebu, the President and her party would directly land in San Miguel where she leads in the opening of the main valves from the facility's main dam to the canal distribution network.
Then she would again be leading the unveiling of markers of the P2.384B project funded by both the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Japan Bank of International Cooperation.
Before it could be formally commissioned, the project as implemented by the National Irrigation Administration asked for an additional P1.2B cost over-run.
Irrigation officials stressed however that the project could be irrigating some 5,300 hectares of farmlands summing up to P574.7M annual net incremental increase in rice and other crop production as direct irrigation benefits.
This translates to about 160% cropping intensity and raises production by 42,500 tons of palay. Roughly, this is valued P510M, irrigation officials said.
The irrigation facility whose coverage includes the 750 hectares served by the existing Capayas Dam is set to benefit 3,605 farmers, while spurring up local jobs during its construction stage.
NIA even forecasted that after the completion of the construction stage, the employments shifts to the farm levels where an estimated 2,230 full time farm jobs would be added annually to Bohol's growing farm workers.
Also expected to be with the president are the Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Makoto Katsura, Department of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap and an unnamed JBIC key official.
NIA Administrator Mar Tugaoen would brief the president about the project and the President also witnesses the turn-over of farm inputs from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and the DA to the farmers of Bayongan.
After a brief program, the president and her party would be off to Cebu at 11:00 for another official government function until 3:30 when she flies back to Manila. (PIA) [top]