NIA Central Office – The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) set the green light for the construction of the P893-million Balbalungao Earthfill Dam on July 2, 2020 in Lupao, Nueva Ecija amidst the present COVID-19 pandemic.
With strict compliance with Minimum Public Health Standards, NIA Administrator Ricardo R Visaya led the Agency’s first groundbreaking and capsule laying ceremony after the government declared lockdown since March due to COVID-19. “The conduct of the groundbreaking is the symbol of openization of the envisioned project that will bring hope to those who would benefit the most from it,” he said in his message.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles, who served as the event's Guest of Honor and Speaker delivered his speech through a pre-recorded video. He acknowledged the importance of NIA’s mandate to help improve the well-being of our farmers in the New Normal to ensure irrigation in the continuity of farming. "Today’s groundbreaking while in quarantine is our declaration that our work continues, and that it continues with greater sear to overcome and prove that COVID-19 did not get the better of us. Instead, we will rise from this crisis like we Filipinos always do,” he remarked.
Present in the event were local government officials headed by representative to the Governor, Dr. Joebeat Agliam and NIA Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems (UPRIIS) Department Manager Rosalinda B. Bote and UPRIIS Division I Acting Manager Felix L. Teaño, Jr. who will facilitate the operation of the dam.
The Balbalungao Small Reservoir Irrigation Project (BSRIP) with 840-hectare service area aims to see significant changes in the Municipality of Lupao by providing sustainable development to the 562 farmers and their families of barangays Balbalungao, San Isidro, Salvacion, Sto. Niño and Mapampang. In this project, no residential areas will be affected. Only 38.44 hectares of lands and trees will be affected by the reservoir area. All necessary procedures were done and pre-requisite permits acquired. Furthermore, in the pursuit for innovations and modernization in irrigation facilities nationwide, after this on-going construction, there will be a hydropower component to be installed before the irrigation outlet of the dam. “Kasi lahat ng mga dams na ginagawa ngayon ng NIA ay hindi pang irigasyon lang. So it should always be a multipurpose dam,” Administrator Visaya stated.
Administrator Visaya calls upon everybody, as “partners in progress”, to always cooperate and collaborate so that Balbalungao Small Reservoir Irrigation Project will be done completed as scheduled by November 2023.
Balbalungao Small Reservoir Irrigation Project (BSRIP) site at Lupao, Nueva Ecija
NIA Administrator Ricardo R Visaya being screened upon arrival in observance of Minimum Public Health Standards due to COVID-19 pandemic
NIA Administrator Ricardo R Visaya and NIA Deputy Administrator for Administrative & Finance Romeo G Gan closing the time capsule
NIA Administrator Ricardo R Visaya during the ceremonial shoveling
NIA Administrator Ricardo R Visaya leads the laying of time capsule observing social distancing
(Left to right) Mr. Eric Timbol, Representative of Congresswoman Micaela S. Violago, NIA Management and Security Consultant Lt Gen Ralph A. Villanueva (Ret), Lupao Municipal Engineer Engr. Bernardo Basco (Representative of Lupao Mayor Alex Rommel V. Romano), San Isidro Balbalungao Irrigators’ Association (IA) President Mr. John Gonzales, NIA Administrator Ricardo R Visaya, NIA UPRIIS Department Manager Engr. Rosalinda B. Bote, Agricultural Engineering and Administrative Division Head Dr. Joebeat Agliam (Representative of Governor Aurelio M. Umali) and NIA Deputy Administrator for Administrative and Finance Romeo G Gan at Balbalungao Small Reservoir Irrigation Project (BSRIP) site
NIA Administrator Ricardo R Visaya delivers his message during the program proper at Farmhouse Hotel & Café, San Jose City, Nueva Ecija.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles delivering his speech through a pre-recorded video
(Left to right) San Isidro Balbalungao Irrigators’ Association (IA) President Mr. John Gonzales, NIA-UPRIIS Department Manager Engr. Rosalinda B. Bote, NIA Administrator Ricardo R Visaya, Agricultural Engineering and Administrative Division Head Dr. Joebeat Agliam (Representative of Governor Aurelio M. Umali) and NIA-UPRIIS Division I Acting Manager Engr. Felix L. Teaño, Jr
**For questions and/or clarifications, you may contact:
EDEN VICTORIA C. SELVA
Acting Department Manager
NIA Public Affairs and Information Staff
Landline: (02) 8921-3741