Urdaneta City, Pangasinan – The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has allocated PhP 3.17 billion for various irrigation projects in the Ilocos region this year.
At a press conference on Wednesday here, Leonela Fernandez, director of engineering and operations at NIA Ilocos, said that PhP 900 million of the total budget has been allocated for the Lower Agno River Irrigation System Improvement Project (LARISIP).
LARISIP aims to construct new canal systems, rehabilitate existing irrigation facilities, and restore non-functioning service areas to improve water delivery and/or increase irrigation water supply to increase agricultural productivity and farmers’ incomes, and create jobs, based on the statement of the NIA Ilocos District.
The amount will also cover other important projects, such as the construction of the towering dam at Barangay Portek in Bugalon town, Pangasinan that will benefit farmland in nine provinces, Fernandez said.
The entire dam project, costing 1.7 billion Philippine pesos, financed by the Public Appropriations Act, will be completed in 2025.
And 400 million Philippine pesos has been allocated to its component, the Domoluk Small Reservoir Project.
A width of 230 meters will be filled across the Domoluk River while it has a spillway on its side. The small reservoir project also includes the construction of 4,340 km of access roads with a width of 10 meters and irrigation facilities to supply the existing Domoluk irrigation system.
“The remainder of the budget for the four provinces will mostly be allocated to start-up projects,” Fernandez said.
Pangasinan has secured financing of PHP 700 million, Ilocos Norte of PHP300 million, La Union of PHP 88 million, and Ilocos Sur of PHP119 million.
The first quarter of the year will be designated for the procurement of materials and equipment for the agency’s various projects, said Engineer Gaudencio de Vera, Acting District Director of NIA Ilocos.
“We aim to complete at least 70 percent (of) the irrigation system developed in the entire region before June 2022. We are now at 62 percent as we continue to develop the existing irrigation systems,” he said.
De Vera said they have begun handing over the area’s collective irrigation systems to local government units (LGUs) as part of a transfer of funds this year to local bodies.
Among the projects completed by NIA Ilocos last year were the introduction of solar-powered water pumps and modular farms, he said. (PNA)