GENERAL TINIO, Nueva Ecija – The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) is set to inaugurate 100 newly-completed dam projects worth P7-billion that were built across the country, NIA chief Ricardo “Bong” R. Visaya revealed here on Tuesday.
“For the next three months, naipon ang mga proyekto na dapat i-inaugurate, about 100 projects worth about P7 billion nationwide ang i-inaugurate namin, hindi po kasi kami basta-basta makalabas sa Central Office para bisitahin at inaugurate ang mga proyektong ito. Ganunpaman, nakita po natin na itong mga projects na ito ay natapos despite the pandemic that we are experiencing now,” explained the NIA chief.
Administrator Visaya was here to lead the blessing and ribbon-cutting rites of the newly-constructed P878-million Upper Tabuating Small River Irrigation Project. Joining him in the unveiling were NIA deputy administrator Romeo G. Gan, Mayor Isidro T. Pajarillaga and Engr. Rosalinda B. Bote, Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems (UPRIIS) department manager.
Also gracing the momentous occasion were Roseten E. Tugaff, who represented Gov. Aurelio M. Umali and fourth district Rep. Maricel Natividad-Nagaño.
In his speech, Visaya hailed Engr. Bote and the entire UPRIIS Div. 3 team for despite the pandemic, the UTSRIP was finally completed on December 2020.
He said this UTSRIP inauguration was the third unveiling ceremony the NIA has so far hosted for this month of May alone. Visaya said they earlier opened up two dams in Ilocos Sur and Cagayan and a fourth one, which he described as a “very beautiful” dam, is also slated to be inaugurated in the Bicol region on Thursday.
Engr. Bote said UTSRIP has a total service area of 700.87 hectares with 223 farmer-beneficiaries and it was designed to increase rice productivity of farmers in the three barangays of Nazareth, Rio Chico, and Bago in this town and San Mariano in the adjacent Peñaranda town.
Despite the pandemic, Bote said farmers in the area harvested a total of 91,182 cavans of palay, averaging 130.10 cavans per hectare using the SL8H and Longping hybrid rice varieties.
Also present during the event was Engr. Jose Ariel G. Domingo, the current Interim Division 6 chief and erstwhile head of the Division 3 office. Domingo earlier implemented the UTSRIP before he was succeeded by Engr. Elenita L. Toquero as acting Division 3 manager in August of last year.
For his part, Tugaff, the provincial human resource and management officer, in conveying Gov. Umali’s message, said: “Napakahalaga ng proyektong ito para sa lalawigan ng Nueva Ecija dahil masisiguro nito na maipagpapatuloy ang paglago ng pagsasaka ng ating kababayang magsasaka, kundi nyo po naitatanong, sa pangunguna ng ating punong lalawigan, tayo ang kauna-unahang probinsya o LGU sa buong Pilipinas ang namimili na palay mula sa ating magsasaka (sa pamamagitan ng provincial food council).”
Highlights of the event included the unveiling of the dam marker and the dispersal of about 12,000 tilapia fingerlings into the reservoir.