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NIA plans to build 10 more dams

MANILA, Philippines — The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) targets the construction of up to 10 dams by the end of the Duterte administration to cover more agricultural areas nationwide.

“We can start about seven to 10 dams. Some of which are the one in Ilocos Norte, in Jalaur and Balog-Balog,” NIA administrator Ricardo Visaya told The STAR.

However, Visaya said the dams in the pipeline may not be finished by 2022 as the timeline of construction usually takes about three to five years.

One of the dams expected to be started is the P11-billion Jalaur River Multipurpose Project II in Iloilo which will be funded through a loan from the Export-Import Bank of Korea.

“We are just waiting for the concurrence of the Korean Eximbank. We have submitted our evaluation to them and they are the ones deciding. We can then proceed to the post qualifications,” Visaya said.

The project is expected to irrigate 33,000 hectares of rice lands in the province.

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The agency, meanwhile, started the construction of the P13-billion second phase of the Balog-Balog Multipurpose Project in Tarlac, one of the country’s most expensive irrigation projects.

BBMP II, when fully completed, will irrigate 34,410 hectares and will serve at least 23,000 farmers covering 10 municipalities.

It is projected to increase the cropping intensity within the service area from 24 percent to 200 percent, directly improving crop production and farmers’ income.

NIA also eyes to finish within three years the P2.7-billion Chico River Pump Irrigation Project in Region 2 which broke ground last April.

Other project included in the pipeline is the P15-billion Ilocos Norte Irrigation Project covering the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur and Abra with an estimated service area of 12,400 hectares.

The NIA also eyes the implementation of the P14.8-billion Panay River Basin Integrated Development Project in Iloilo and Capiz that will irrigate 28,000 hectares and benefit 19 municipalities.

Also part of the plan is the construction of the P4.1-billion Bohol Northeast Basin Multipurpose Dam Project that will irrigate an estimated area of 12,500 hectares covering six municipalities.

Another flagship program is the P4-billion Tumaini River Multipurpose Project in Cagayan Valley that will generate an estimated service area of more than 4,000 hectares.

Other major projects are the P3.5-billion Gregorio del Pilar Impounding Project in Ilocos Sur and P1.2-billion Asbang Small Reservoir Impounding Project in Davao del Sur, that will irrigate 5,000 hectares and 469 hectares, respectively.

NIA will continue to assess new possible projects to complete its target in the pipeline.

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