Isabela City, Basilan – Five (5) irrigation projects with a total project cost of 16 million was turned over to its respective Irrigators’ Associations (IAs) last August 4, 2018. NIA Administrator Ricardo R. Visaya, and Basilan Governor Jim S. Hataman Salliman, together with NIA Deputy Administrator for Administrative and Finance Romeo G. Gan, NIA Deputy Administrator for Engineering and Operations C’zar M. Sulaik, Regional Manager Mario H. Sande, Lieutenant Colonel Jojo D. Montaner of 104 Brigade Philippine Army, and Basilan-Sulu-Tawitawi (BASULTA) Federation President Nasser Dammang graced the ceremonial mass turnover at Basilan State College Amphitheater, Isabela City.
The irrigation projects turned over to its respective IAs were (1) Calayan Small Irrigation Project (SIP) in Brgy. Garlayan, Lantawan, Basilan, (2) Colonia Communal Irrigation System (CIS) in Brgy. Colonia, Lamitan City, (3) Mahayahay/Batongal CIS in Brgy Batungal, Maluso, Basilan, (4) Semut SIP in Brgy. Semut, Akbar, Basilan, and (5) Tabiawan CIS in Brgy. Tabiawan, Isabela City. A total of 214.50 hectares of service area will be irrigated upon the operation of these irrigation facilities benefitting total of 147 farmer-beneficiaries in the area.
“Kami po sa BASULTA Federation of Irrigators’ Association ay lubos na nagpapasalamat sa National Irrigation Administration . . . Sana patuloy pa po ninyo kaming bigyan ng proyektong irigasyon katuwang ng aming local na gobyerno dito sa BASULTA,” said BASULTA Federation President Dammang.
(We, in BASULTA Federation of Irrigators’ Association, are very much grateful to the National Irrigation Administration . . . We hope that you continue to give us irrigation projects in partnership with our local government here in BASULTA.)
Dammang’s plea for more irrigation projects is resonated in Regional Manager Sande’s message and situationer report for Basilan province wherein rice demand situation exceeds that of rice supply. According to Regional Manager Sande, the estimated potential irrigable area of the province is at 1,035 hectares and as of December 2017, the area developed is at 38% or 390 hectares. He further explained that the province’s population of 459, 367 (Philippine Statistics Authority, 2015) and an average per capita consumption of 114 kilograms of rice per year, projected a rice supply deficit of 51, 081 metric tons per year.
“In order to minimize this rice demand-supply gap and improve palay production, we have to increase palay yield per unit area and expand irrigated palay production area through construction of new projects as well as to sustain the operation and maintenance of existing irrigation systems,” he said.
Governor Salliman expressed his gratefulness and support to NIA and calls for an aggressive campaign for food security program to resume rice sustainability of the province. He also encouraged his constituents to parallel the enthusiasm of the government with positive action, appreciation, and participation of its programs.
Administrator Visaya, who has been assigned in Basilan during his military stint, said that Basilan is close to his heart and that full support will be given to farmers to increase their harvest this includes pouring funds to construct new irrigation projects. He further expressed that a convergence effort from NIA, Department of Agriculture and the local government will be initiated to help every farmer in the province.
For CY 2018, NIA Region IX has a total of 9 (nine) irrigation projects for Basilan province with a summative project cost of 170 million. These on-going projects are Banas CIS, Basak CIS, Colonia CIS, Kapatagan SIP, Lamitan CIS, Lower Binembengan SIP, Batongal CIS, Sumagdang CIS, and Tairan SIP.