Manila Bulletin : Bongbong confident 100% irrigation coverage achievable; proposes water impounding facilities

25 October 2021

By Ben Rosario | Manila Bulletin

Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) standard-bearer Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. is batting for a more vigorous government action to address the irrigation needs of the farmers even as he aired confidence that a full coverage of all irrigable areas in the country can be achieved.

Marcos proposed the establishment of water impounding facilities, instead of building more dams, noting that the latter entails more cost and requires more time to build.

“Trying to solve the issue of irrigation by building dams would be more costly and time-consuming. The need for better irrigation is immediate and therefore calls for a solution that would be faster to deploy. That is why I believe that water impounding facilities fit this requirement,” Marcos said in a press statement.

He noted that in the 2020 Status of Irrigation Development Report from the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), it was disclosed that there are 3,128,631 million hectares of irrigable area in the country. Of this number, only 2,006,054 million hectares or 64.12% are being irrigated.

“It is high time to be more aggressive when it comes to our irrigation targets. I am confident that 100% coverage of our irrigable areas is feasible. Irrigation is one of the most important components in strengthening the agriculture sector and this will be one of the pillars of my agricultural program,” the presidential aspirant stated.

Marcos, who served as governor of Ilocos Norte which is one of the agriculturally progressive provinces in the country, has also aired his support to government’s recent decision to transfer the control of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to the Department of Agriculture (DA).

He added that since the DA has all the pertinent data, programs, equipment, and experts, it will allow both agencies to streamline coordination and fulfill their respective mandates.

“The DA and NIA have a common objective of ensuring food security in our country and transferring the NIA to the DA could enhance food production nationwide. Their integrated programs and interventions would develop the agriculture sector which is key to our economic development,” Marcos said.

Marcos said that the incoming government must provide a holistic program to revive the agriculture sector since this would provide another revenue source fund project for the poor. He further added other initiatives to provide aid to Filipino farmers.

“There are so many things that we could do for the agriculture sector. Apart from policy changes, we should offer farmers support by giving them modern post-harvest facilities, credit and infrastructure support through farm to market roads,” Marcos explained.