P23.6-M irrigation project to benefit farmers in Surigao

Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 10:52


NIA Caraga Acting Regional Manager Engr. Madante P. Ganotisi and Cabangahan Greenfield Farmers Irrigators’ Association Inc. President Melchor A. Sauro during the turn-over ceremony of Cabangahan CIP.

NIA Caraga - National Irrigation Administration Surigao del Sur Irrigation Management Office (SDS-IMO) turned-over the Cabangahan Communal Irrigation Project located at Cabahangan Multi-purpose Gym, Tago, Surigao del Sur on November 7, 2017.

The project is under the Extension/Expansion of Existing Irrigation System (EEIS) CY 2016 Fund with a total project cost of P23.6 million. It is set to irrigate 100 hectares of agricultural lands within the area of Tago, Surigao Del Sur.

SDS Acting IMO Manager Engr. Dexter A. Sablaon recalled the challenges faced by the project.

“One of them is that the plans were already prepared way back Calendar Year 2010, because the project was intended to be funded in the other program but unfortunately it was not realized”, he said

Engr. Sablaon said that about 65 farmers of Cabangahan Greenfield Farmers Irrigators’ Association Inc. will harvest the benefit of the said project.

In his turnover speech, NIA Caraga Acting Regional Manager Engr. Madante P. Ganotisi appealed to the farmers to use the system in a manner that will strengthen their organization and improve their individual income.

“Now that the project has been turned-over to you (IA), you should take care of the system and you must have the sense of ownership. The failure and success of the association is in your hand,” he added.

He also emphasized that a cropping calendar is important to guide the farmers during the schedule of operation and maintenance. The completion of the project will not only alleviate the farmer’s income but also the economic condition of the area considering it can generate a total income amounting to P20-million for two croppings.

Cabangahan Greenfield Farmers Irrigators’ Association Inc. President Melchor A. Sauro vowed to support the said project and encouraged his members to do the same.

“Barangay population is only 1,310 and based on the computation they will only require about 4,000 cavans, but that production if the potential area will be developed, it could produce 8,000 cavans/cropping and it is more than enough to feed the barangay, but also help its neighboring area,” SDS Provincial Agricultural Officer Marcos M. Quico explained. 

Highlights of the ceremony were the acceptance of the project and the signing of the documents. Present during the event were NIA Officials, Local Government Units (LGUs), and IA members.

Ecotourism to rise in NIA-owned dams

Thursday, November 9, 2017 - 17:15


NIA Central Office, Quezon City – The National Irrigation Administration is eyeing big irrigation dams as tourist destinations.

In one of his interviews, NIA Administrator Ricardo Visaya said that the agency is opening its door to Local Government Units (LGUs) and other private investors for future partnership in the usage of NIA-owned dams as tourist destination.

The NIA chief cited Caliraya Dam in Laguna as a perfect example for the plan. He also mentioned Bustos Dam in Bulacan and Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija which can serve as pioneer tourist destinations that can be duplicated in other areas.

“Hindi naman siya magiging sagabal sa primary function ng NIA which is irrigation. Gusto lang din namin na mabigyan ng iba’t-ibang options ang mga foreign and local tourists natin”, he added.

Though there is no detailed study yet, the agency is optimistic that this endeavor will allow its visitors to enjoy the nature while doing outdoor and team building activities like inland fishing, kayaks riding, bicycle riding, wall climbing, rapelling, etc.  within the area. A zip line structure can also be a possible attraction for those who are looking for some extreme adventure.

Administrator Visaya said that ecotourism is a concept that provides a “win-win” situation.

“Aside from the additional income that the government will be getting out of this (Ecotourism), I think the important thing is that we can increase awareness on the importance of our watershed and how to conserve it for the future”, he said.

The NIA chief is keen in utilizing the agency’s irrigation systems to attain its optimum benefits not only for farmers but also to communities.

Ecotourism is uniting conservation, communities, and sustainable travel to conserve the environment and improve the well-being of local people. 

Senate okays NIA’s Budget; Bicam harmonizes provisions on Free Irrigation

Friday, October 20, 2017 - 14:32


NIA, Central Office - The Upper house, during its plenary session on October 10, approved the Php 40.8 billion budget of National Irrigation Administration for 2018.

NIA Chief Gen. Ricardo Visaya believed that the 6 percent increase in agency’s 2018 budget will pave way to build more irrigation infrastructures that will boost agricultural productivity of the country.   

Bulk of the approved budget, or the Php 27.3 billion, will be for the restoration, repair, and rehabilitation of existing irrigation systems and construction and development of new irrigation systems.

Early September, the House of Representatives also gave its green light for the said budget.

Meanwhile, the Bicameral Committee panel sets clearer direction for the proposed free irrigation services act. The Congress and Senate, on October 10, agreed to settle differences on some provisions of the proposed law.

Senate Committee Chairperson on agriculture and food Senator Cynthia Villar admitted that there are disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill 1465 (Free Irrigation Service to Small Farmers Act of 2017) and House Bill 5670 (Free Irrigation Services Act).

Acting NIA Operations Manager Engr. Bayani Ofrecio, on one of free irrigation consultations, said that the house and senate bills differ on some provisions on condonation and corporate status of NIA.

“Sa Senate kasi ang sinasabi nila revocation of corporate status ng NIA together with its authority to contract foreign loans pero sa Congress wala naman sila binanggit kung GOCC pa rin ba ang NIA o line agency na”, he said.    

But with the determination of both houses to reduce production cost, hasten productivity and increase the income of farmers, the committee has agreed to condone all unpaid irrigation fees and the corresponding penalties of small farmers with landholdings of eight (8) hectares or below to the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).

The committee also decided to let a separate legislation address the issue on the status of NIA whether or not it will hold its identity as Government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC).

Present during the Bicam conference were Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri, Sherwin Gatchalian, Joseph Victor Ejercito, and Francis Pangilinan. The congress was represented by ANAC-IP Party List Rep. Jose Panganiban, Jr. together with Representatives Arthur Yap, Noel Villanueva, Ariel Casilao, Sharon Garin, Henry Oaminal, Jericho Nograles and Cecilia Leonila Chavez.


Monday, October 2, 2017 - 09:03


NIA, Quezon City- Former Major General Romeo G. Gan officially assumed the post as new NIA Deputy Administrator for Administrative and Finance. 

Gen. Gan took his oath of office before Cabinet Secretary Leoncio B. Evasco on September 18, 2017 in Malacañang Palace.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte appointed him to replace Estrella Icasiano after the latter filed her irrevocable resignation earlier this month.  

Deputy Administrator Gan was a former Commander of 2nd Infantry “Jungle Fighter” Division of the Philippine Army. He served as Commander of the Civil Relations Service of Armed Forces of the Philippines (CRSAFP).

Prior to his designation as the civil relations chief, he served as the Assistant Division Commander of the 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division based in Camp Siongco, Awang DOS, Maguindanao.

He is expected to bring to the position his expertise in leadership and management in administrative and finance. With his recent appointment, Gen. Gan will join his comrades Gen. Visaya (NIA Administrator) and Gen. Bagasin (NIA Senior Deputy Administrator) who are also members of the Philippine Military Academy "Matikas" Class of 1983.

NIA gets congress’ approval for its 2018 budget

Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 10:54


NIA Central Office, Quezon City – The lower house, during its plenary session on September 11, approved the Php40.8 billion 2018 budget for National Irrigation Administration. The amount is higher by 6 percent than the P38.3 billion allotted for the irrigation sector this year.

Bulk of the approved budget, or the Php26.8 billion, will be for the restoration, repair, and rehabilitation of existing irrigation systems and construction and development of new irrigation systems. The agency is also eyeing to establish pump and special irrigation systems.

NIA Chief Gen. Ricardo Visaya previously said that the increased budget will be used to accelerate and complete ongoing projects and quickly develop and increase new irrigation areas.

“We want to increase the budget to fund the construction of our dams. We still have about 40.68 percent to be developed and we would like to fast track the development to help achieve rice self-sufficiency,” he added.

NIA administrator said that the congress’ approval is a welcome move for the agency to implement larger scale new projects, to continuously conduct project feasibility studies and detailed engineering, to provide adequate equipment support for operation and maintenance, and to protect watersheds of big irrigation systems.

The Agency is set to meet the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food chaired by Sen. Cynthia Villar for a Senate Committee Hearing on September 19. The management is hopeful that the proposed budget will also be accepted by the Upper House. 

The agency, as of December 2016, has developed 1.85 million hectares of agricultural lands equivalent to 59.32 percent of irrigation development.

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