Thursday, May 6, 2010

Region 1 Irrigators’ Association Federation President hits irrigation projects of former provincial administration

Contrary to the claims of the previous administration of numerous irrigation projects for the welfare of Pangasinan’s agriculture sector, Oftociano Manalo, President of the Provincial and Regional Irrigators’ Association, lamented their irrigation projects that did not work.

“Hindi napakinabangan ng mga farmers, minsan lang umulan washed out na. Sayang yung ginastos, people’s money yun, taxpayers’ money yun tapos ganon lang ang nangyari,” he said.

At one point, a member of the media asked if the TV ad (on irrigation projects of the previous administration) is a lie, Manalo said “sa palagay ko dahil ako ang President dapat ako ang signatory doon sa MOA, wala akong matandaan” noting that he included in his accomplishment a non-existent irrigation project in Managos, Balungao.

“Dapat alam ko kasi ako ang presidente ng asosayon dun kaya dapat ako ang pumirma sa MOA,” Manalo disclosed.

“80 percent pataas ng project ng Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPAG) under Balikatan Sagip Patubig Program under the previous administration, hindi natapos, pero nakolekta nila lahat 100 percent,” he added.

“Maraming complaints ang aming asosasyon na maraming hindi natapos na mga projects na inimplement, tulad ng ginawa sa Balungao, pero hindi napakinabangan ng farmers.
On the other hand, Manalo also praised the good working relation of the agriculture sector and the Provincial Government today.

“Very open ang dialogue namin ngayon with the Governor and the Provincial Agriculturist kaya nasasabi namin ang aming mga pangangailangan, unlike before na hindi kami binibigyan ng pagkakataon na masabi ang mga pagkukulang ng OPAG noon,” he said.

Manalo also commended Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. for his timely intervention to help farmers hit by the on-going El Niño Phenomenon with the purchase and distribution of some 500 units of water pumps to various irrigators’ associations in the province.

Manalo said the Provincial Government gave the five horse power (5 hp), gasoline-fed units with complete accessories, free to the recipients unlike with national government agencies’ intervention program where farmers had to provide counterpart for the cost.

In the distribution, farmers needing immediate water for irrigation or those at the tail-end of water supply were prioritized, he said.

Manalo also disclosed that recipients were given technical briefing on how to take care and prolong the life of their units before the awarding.

“Malaking tulong po ngayon dahil sa mga water pumps na ibinigay nila, lalo na ngayong El Niño, maraming pananim ang napatubigan,” Jun Nandin, President of Don Isidoro Dam Irrigators’ Association, said.

Meanwhile, the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) in Pangasinan said their agency is busy rehabilitating the irrigation systems of the national government in the province, during this planting break, and in the construction of the San Roque Dam re-regulating pond.

Engineer Ceferino Sta. Ana, Division Manager of the Agno River Integrated Irrigation Project (ARIIP), said wet season cropping will start on July 16 when they will open the agency’s irrigation facilities and 12,000 to 15,000 hectares will be programmed for irrigation.

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