NIA eyes greater achievements under Marcos Administration

June 23, 2022, 11:15 AM
 

NIA Central Office – As part of the Philippine Government’s presidential transition process, president-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos, Jr. expressed his plans to reprioritize the development of agriculture in the country.

During the Agri 2022 Online Forum, he highlighted the need for a “change of approach” in the agricultural sector. Marcos Budget Priorities include agriculture and food security, climate resiliency, economic recovery, improved healthcare and education, enhanced infrastructure projects, utilization of renewable energy, eco-tourism development, and sustainable development.

With 15 Regional Offices, two Integrated Irrigation Systems Offices, and 64 irrigation management offices (IMOs) nationwide, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) supports the incoming administration to further develop the country’s agricultural sector. From the priorities of president-elect Marcos, one will note that NIA is already working on these with the irrigation systems being developed. Hence, NIA always remains true to its mandate of providing efficient, reliable, and sustainable irrigation service to the Filipino farmers.

Under the term of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and NIA Administrator Ricardo R. Visaya, the Agency already started working with projects and initiatives relative to these platforms. With the coming of the new administration, NIA expresses its support to the plans and platforms of Marcos Administration as the Agency looks forward to greater achievements in irrigation sector.

For agriculture and food security, NIA supported the “Build, Build, Build” Program as part of the Duterte Administration’s 10-Point Socioeconomic Agenda envisioned to reduce poverty from 21.6% in 2015 to 13-15 percent in 2022 through massive infrastructure platform. NIA started the construction of its big-ticket projects to cover more agricultural areas nationwide, such as P1.029-billion Pasa Small Reservoir Irrigation Project (Isabela), P13.37-billion Balog-Balog Multipurpose Project – Phase II (Tarlac), P11.21-billion Jalaur River Multipurpose Project II (Iloilo), P25.731-billion Ilocos Norte-Ilocos Sur-Abra Irrigation Project, P3.5-billion Lower Agno River Irrigation System Improvement Project (LARISIP), P4.134-billion Bohol Northeast Basin Multipurpose Dam Project, P31.22-billion Kabulnan 2 Multipurpose Irrigation and Power Project, P5.444-billion Malitubog-Maridagao Irrigation Project (North Cotabato), P8.58-billion Tumauini River Multipurpose Project  (Isabela), and P4.372-billion Chico River Pump Irrigation Project (Kalinga). These big-ticket projects have an aggregate cost of P108.59 billion, thus providing a significant contribution in the food self-sufficiency program of the government.

In terms of renewable energy development, NIA has embarked on the development of hydroelectric power and solar-powered irrigation projects to maximize the utilization of existing irrigation facilities nationwide. As of December 31, 2021, NIA already completed the construction of 333 solar-powered irrigation projects amounting to P1,517,533,450.71. These projects which can generate 4,215.33 horsepower (hp) also provide reliable irrigation water supply to 6,482.62 hectares of agricultural land nationwide, benefitting 8,467 farmers and their families. With the soaring price of gasoline and diesel, these solar-powered pump projects farmers can continue to irrigate their lands free from the burden of shouldering high fuel costs.

With its modernization and innovation platforms, NIA utilizes the full potential of its irrigation facilities in agro-tourism, technological advancement, and innovations. Veering away from mere irrigation service, NIA invites interested parties to invest in hydroelectric power projects in 379 identified potential sites nationwide. Five of which are completely operational, thus providing sustainable resources for renewable energy.

Under the term of President Duterte, NIA also started venturing to floating solar power project on its dams and reservoirs as the SN Aboitiz Power Group has constructed a 2,500-square meter floating solar power energy plant in Magat Dam in Isabela which features solar panels fixed to floats on the water surface.  Instead of focusing on land-based solar projects, NIA offers its dams and reservoirs for the water-based project which can achieve the same purpose of increasing power production while saving agricultural lands.

For Climate Change Resiliency, NIA started adopting High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) to replace earth and/or lined canals due to its durability, leak-free joints, resistance to corrosion, and long-term cost-effectiveness. The Agency also utilizes Concrete Canvas (CC) as an innovative technique in canal lining construction which offers a faster and easier alternative to conventional concrete. The Agency also conducts retrofitting design and structures, adopts water-saving technologies like Alternate Wetting and Drying (AWD) Technology, and utilizes Diversified Cropping in irrigation systems.

As part of the Agency’s Re-Fleeting Program, NIA purchased 34 units of light and transport vehicles and 18 units of heavy equipment for CY 2017. For CY 2018, NIA acquired 91 units of light/transport vehicles and 18 units of heavy equipment. Meanwhile, five units of heavy equipment and 91 units of light/transport vehicles were procured in 2019. Recently, NIA acquired 345 units of motor vehicles for use in the monitoring and evaluation of the status of ongoing construction and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) activities nationwide.

To promote comprehensive rural development and equal access to opportunities and sustained productivity, Republic Act No. 10969, otherwise known as the Free Irrigation Service Act (FISA) was signed into law by President Duterte on February 02, 2018. Under the law, all farmers with landholdings of eight hectares and below are exempted from paying the Irrigation Service Fees (ISF) for water derived from National and Communal Irrigation Systems (NISs and CISs). As of December 2021, the Free ISF Program of the Government has a total of 1,033,778 farmers covering 1,189,503.87 hectares of agricultural land nationwide benefit under the law. Congruently, the National Irrigation Master Plan (NIMP) will pave the way on how to fully develop the remaining 1.4 million out of the 3.1 million hectares of potential areas for irrigation. Based on the NIMP, by 2030, about 75% shall have been provided with irrigation facilities.

In the absence of irrigation service fee, NIA provides technical support and financial subsidies to Irrigators Associations (IAs). The Agency offers Operations Subsidy amounting to P150.00/hectare/season based on the List of Irrigated and Planted Area (LIPA). Likewise, Maintenance Subsidy amounting to P2,800.00 is given for every 3.5 kilometers of unlined (earth) canal or 7.0 kilometers of lined canal per maintenance period (every 45 days, maximum of 6 times per year). NIA also conducts trainings, institutional development programs, and capability-building seminars to farmers to equip them with up-to-date knowledge and skills on system management, organization management, financial management, and entrepreneurship, among others.

For the status of irrigation development as of December 2021, NIA recorded 65.28% irrigation development, irrigating 2,042,392.66 hectares of agricultural land nationwide. Under the Duterte Administration for the period of 2016-2021, there has been an increase of 311,264.66 hectares or 7.95% increase in irrigation development. Administrator Visaya stressed a record in history, that the status of irrigation development for CY 2021 is 11.68% higher than the irrigation development status 10 years ago (2011).

According to the United Nations – Water (2021), the Water-Food-Energy Nexus is central to sustainable development. All of these three critical domains are being provided by NIA. Indeed, the Agency has proven its immeasurable role in ensuring water and food security, sustainable agriculture, and energy production in the country.

Now that the Philippines is moving forward to the plans and programs of the next administration, NIA remains hopeful and confident that the succeeding administration would be able to inspire greater Filipinos and intensify the magnitude of the Agency’s achievements in the years to come

The P645-million Benliw Small Reservoir Irrigation Project in the Municipality of Ubay, Bohol was inaugurated on May 27, 2021. It covers 400 hectares of agricultural land in barangays of Benliw, Emelda, Cagting, and Sinandigan, benefitting 600 farmers and their families. With its scenic and breathtaking view, NIA sees the potential of the project as an agro-tourism site in the region.

The 1.0-MW hydropower facility located near the main canal of Pampanga River Irrigation System (PRIS), known to local residents as Rizal Dam, started its commercial operation in 2017.

The 200-kilowatt pilot floating solar project on a 2,500-square meter area over the Magat Reservoir located in Ramon, Isabela is inspired by the Giant Water Lily.

The P20.461-million Peñaranda Solar Powered Pump Irrigation Project has a service area of 228.878 hectares located in Barangays Poblacion I, Poblacion II, Santo Tomas in Peñaranda, and Pambuan, Gapan City, benefitting a total of 114 farmer-members of Penaranda IA.

The Chico River Pump Irrigation Project (CRPIP) is the first project of the Build, Build, Build Program funded by the Chinese Government. It targets to irrigate 8,700 hectares of agricultural land on 21 barangays in the Municipalities of Tuao and Piat, Cagayan (Region II) and in the Municipality of Pinukpuk, Kalinga (Cordillera Administrative Region).

The 69-Kilovolt Switching Station of the CRPIP

Diversion Main Canal of the CRPIP

The Babalak Communal Irrigation System located in Bashoy, Kabayan, Benguet

The acquisition of heavy, light, and transport equipment is part of NIA’s Re-Fleeting Program towards efficient monitoring and evaluation of the status of ongoing irrigation projects nationwide.

As part of the Agency’s Institutional Development Program, NIA Palawan Irrigation Management Office (Palawan IMO) conducts Basic Leadership Development Course (BLDC) Training for Papualan IA of Papualan Small Irrigation Project in the Municipality of Coron, Palawan on May 16, 2022.

 

**For questions and/or clarifications, you may contact:

EDEN VICTORIA C. SELVA
Department Manager A
NIA Public Affairs and Information Staff
E-mail: pais@nia.gov.ph
Landline: (02) 8921-3741 loc. 113