DA chief inaugurates P1-billion irrigation facility
- Teddy Molina () - July 25, 2011 - 12:00am

BANTAY, Ilocos Sur, Philippines – Farmers in eight Ilocos Sur towns can now look forward to doubling their productivity and income after Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala inaugurated a P1-billion pump irrigation system in a riverside barangay here Thursday.

The Banaoang Pump Irrigation System (BPIS) which was built along the scenic Abra River in barangay Banaoang here is capable of of irrigating 5,200 hectares, according to Alcala. The system covers farmlands in the first district towns of Bantay, Vigan, Caoayan, San Vicente, Sta. Catalina, San Ildefonso, Sto. Domingo and Magsingal.

Addressing a huge crowd that included farmers and local officials led by Ilocos Sur Vice Governor Deogracias Victor Savellano and first district Rep. Luis Ryan Singson, the Agriculture secretary encouraged the farmers to avail of the irrigation facility which he said  will enhance their productivity and boost their income.

Savellano, on the other hand, sought out Alcala’s help in having the prices of farm inputs especially fertilizer lowered and in increasing the buying prices of corn, tobacco, garlic, onion and rice which are the province’s major crops.

Singson lauded the establishment of the irrigation project in his district saying he will stay close to the farmers providing other farming support they would need. He brought along a “kuliglig” equipment cum farm vehicle that was raffled off to the farmers.

The Agriculture chief cited former Rep. Salacnib Baterina who he said was his “classmate” at the House of Representatives for initiating the irrigation project. 

Contacted by phone, Baterina told The Star that the project was mainly funded with a loan from China with the Philippine government sharing a 10 percent counterpart. He said that the total cost of the project reached P1 billion.    

Baterina said the project was a collaborative effort with Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson, Savellano and other local officials adding that it started during the admnistration of President Joseph Estrada.

With the BPIS now operational, he said farmers can now resort to double rice cropping or they can raise rice twice a year.

Saying he is doing “management by going around” to carry out President Aquino’s instructions to seek out farmers, Alcala was on a regional swing which he started in Ilocos Norte and later brought him to La Union and Pangasinan after Ilocos Sur.

He also addressed tobacco farmers in Candon, Ilocos Sur where he inaugurated the National Tobacco Administration”s (NTA)  branch office building.

He was accompanied by NTA Admnistrator Edgardo Zaragoza.

The two-story NTA building was built through former Deputy House Speaker Eric Singson from his district’s share of the tobacco tax fund. Second district Rep. Eric Owen Singson and Candon Vice Mayor Alfonso Singson took turns in welcoming Alcala.

In both occasions, Alcala gave time for farmers and local officials to raise their concerns some of which he acted on with dispatch.

He granted 20 scholarships to Agriculture students enrolled at the Ilocos Sur Community College and created a team to meet with an Ilocos Sur government counterpart to come up with a midterm program that would provide DA “intervention” in support of the province’s BaRang-ay program.

He also distributed checks for farm, livelihood, and fish projects and 200 sacks of certified seeds.  

ABRA RIVER ADMNISTRATOR EDGARDO ZARAGOZA AGRICULTURE SECRETARY PROCESO ALCALA ALCALA BANAOANG PUMP IRRIGATION SYSTEM BATERINA DEPUTY HOUSE SPEAKER ERIC SINGSON FARMERS ILOCOS ILOCOS SUR
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