Benitez leads dialog on irrigation program



Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Rep. Alfredo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3 rd District) led the presentation and consultation on the Malogo River Irrigation Program of the National Irrigation Administration, with stakeholders in the cities of Victorias and Silay, and the municipality of E.B. Magalona, Negros Occidental Monday, a press release from his office said.

He cited the five-point benefits of irrigation, namely to boost agricultural productivity, for flood mitigation, a source of potable water, as power component, and for eco-tourism.

He said the dialog held in Talisay City primarily sought to clarify salient points of the NIA program that was conceptualized and proposed in 2014, and up for its final implementation this year. He also underscored the need to analyze program details, and cited opportunities for synergy and convergence so that the program is effectively and efficiently implemented, with the understanding and acceptance of all concerned.

The Malogo Irrigation Program targets to irrigate 8,625 hectares of farms mostly in the third district.

Benitez said it is important that all stakeholders understand and accept the program, so the dialog gathered representatives from the regional, provincial, and local offices of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Agriculture, and chief executives of affected local government units with their planning and engineering key staff, the press release said.

The NIA group was headed by Jesus Datoon, special projects coordinator for Region VI; provincial manager Isaiah Melendez, and Jerry Gicare - project engineer of the Malogo River Irrigation Project.

Also present were Victorias Mayor Francis Frederick Palanca, Silay Mayor Mark Golez, EB Magalona Mayor Marvin Malacon, Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino, and Victorias consultant on Water Nathaniel Acha, who presented the Victorias flood situation. Cristino Rivas, president of the Barangay E. Lopez Farmers Irrigation Association, aired concerns about the program.

Benitez steered the dialog among stakeholders, and capped off the consultation with a hotlist of next vital steps by all concerned to fast track the implementation, and among them was to address the need for rehabilitation of all irrigation projects in the province for critical validation in the 2019 budget, the press release added.*