By Reuel John F. Lumawag | Sunstar Davao
SENATOR Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said on Friday he will seek additional funds for the rehabilitation of irrigation systems in the country.
"For the year 2014, nung lumabas yung budget para sa National Irrigation Authority (NIA), nag-aalala ako na wala masyadong naibigay sa NIA para sa repair and rehabilitation [ng mga irrigation systems] (when the budget for NIA came out, I got worried because not much has been allocated for the repair and rehabilitation of the irrigation systems)," said Marcos, who is also head of the Senate Committee on Public Works, in an interview with reporters on Friday after the 7th Irrigators Association Congress of the Regional Confederation of Irrigators Association (RCIA).
Marcos said he already asked Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala for additional funding for the repair and rehabilitation of irrigation systems.
"Nakapagbigay naman siya kahit maliit lang," he said.
He said the problem with the lack of budget for the repair and rehabilitation of NIA's irrigation system is more evident when it became a common concern of the irrigators who attended the congress on Friday.
During the open forum, leaders of irrigator associations from each province in Davao region expressed their concerns on the lack of rehabilitation and repair of irrigation systems.
One of them was Severino P. Mercado, president of JK Mercado & Sons Agricultural Enterprises Inc., who said the irrigation canals in their area are already dilapidated. He said if only the irrigation systems were fully rehabilitated and repaired, this will help increase the rice production.
Marcos said he will try again this year to request additional budget for NIA's rehabilitation and repair of their irrigation system.
"Naghe-hearing na ang House of Representatives sa budget, ipapasa pa sa amin (Senate), pero habang sa Kongreso pa lang kakausapin ko yung ating mga kaibigan sa Kongreso..., Sec. Alcala pati ang Department of Budget and Management (DBM) para mabigyan naman ng karagdagang pondo ang NIA (The House of Representatives are now tackling the budget, which will soon be passed to us in the Senate. But while it is still in the congress, I will try to talk to the members of the congress, Secretary Alcala, and DBM for additional budget allocation for NIA)," he said.