July 27, 2023, 7:12 AM

Quezon City – President Ferdinand “Bongbong R. Marcos Jr. have set forth his plans and programs to improve the country and recalled the challenges encountered and continue to face as he delivered his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday, July 24, 2023 at the House of Representatives, Constitution Hills.

In his speech, the optimal growth of the country’s agricultural sector was one of the highlights. He emphasized the 2.2% increase in the agricultural sector for the first three months of the year (2023) and strategies to lift local agricultural production. “Katuwang natin dito ang buong sektor ng agrikultura at ang lokal na pamahalaan”, he said.

As part of the agricultural transformation, President Marcos also highlighted his tactic in the country’s quest for food security. Resulting to more sustainable and responsible yield benefiting current and future generations, procedures are now guided by science and the balance of nature.

“Ipinagbubuklod natin ang mga magsasaka, sa pamamagitan ng farm and fisheries clustering at mga livestock multiplier farms. Tatlong daang clusters na ang ating natukoy na binubuo ng halos 900 kooperatiba, at 200,000 ektarya ng bukirin. Upang mas mapabilis at mas mapadali ang pagbuo ng kooperatiba, kakailanganin natin ang suporta ng Kongreso na maamyendahan ang Cooperative Code. Sa pamamagitan nito, unti-unting lalakas ang kanilang produksyon at puwersa sa merkado”, he said.

The President underscored that one of the keys to continuing economic growth is infrastructure development, thus the government aims to build better and more projects as a legacy of public service excellence to the next generation. The P8.3-trillion “Build Better More” Program is currently in progress and being vigorously implemented. It covers physical connectivity, water resources, agriculture, health, digital connectivity, and energy.

As a vital contribution towards the success of this program, NIA Acting Administrator Engr. Eddie G. Guillen aims to fast-track the implementation of its irrigation projects nationwide. As of December 31, 2022, NIA recorded 68% of the total 3.12 million hectares of irrigable land nationwide. With 998,000 hectares remaining to be developed, President Marcos aims to revitalize the country’s irrigation sector. NIA eyes Public-Private Partnership (PPP) to fast-track irrigation development which will further sustain the irrigation needs of greater Filipino farmers and will ultimately answer the President's call to strengthen food security.

Initially, NIA has identified 50 potential projects for PPP with seven revenue streams, namely, hydroelectric power, solar power, aquaculture, wind energy, bulk water supply, water treatment, and carbon credits. On June 29, 2023, NIA Board of Directors approved the further development and implementation of the three priority irrigation projects for PPP during the 992nd NIA Regular Board Meeting. With an aggregate amount of P37.9 billion, the projects identified for this endeavor were Ilocos Norte-Ilocos Sur-Abra Irrigation Project II (INISAIP II), Tumauini River Multipurpose Project (TRMP), and Upper Banaoang Irrigation Project.

To further improve its viability as a Government-Owned and Controlled Corporation (GOCC), NIA is embarking on the benefits of developing more renewable energy projects on its irrigation projects nationwide. At present, there are 379 identified potential hydroelectric power sites throughout the country.

In line with one of the Strategic Policy Agendas of Administrator Guillen, Irrigators Association (IA) Capacity Building, the Agency supports President Marcos in forming cooperatives to address the low production in the Philippines. NIA will spearhead the capacity building of IAs by consolidation and forming them into cooperative in the municipality or city-wide level. The formed cooperatives shall serve as the venue of convergence and collaboration of the government line agencies with the help and partnership with Cooperative Development Authority (CDA).

“Binigyan din natin ng patubig ang mahigit na apatnapu’t siyam na libong ektarya ng bukirin sa buong Pilipinas”, President Marcos said.

The President has lauded as he took his vow in the continuous elevation of the condition of farmers through mechanization and modernization towards food sufficiency.

 Irrigation has served as a pathway of life. It is a channel that brings hope to the farmers. The much-needed investment in the agricultural sector will bring a mighty turnaround in the Philippine agricultural landscape.

For inquiries and/or clarifications, you may contact:
Department Manager A
NIA Public Affairs and Information Staff
Landline: (02) 8921-3741