NIA Palawan IMO Division Manager Conrado Cardenas, Jr. and the agency’s staff inspect the riverbed and farmland in Barangay Canipaan, Rizal as one of the irrigation sites for 2022.

The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) plans to strengthen its programs in Rizal and Dumaran in 2022, to align with the objectives of the National Task Force to End Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) in Palawan.

NIA-Palawan Irrigation Management Office (PIMO) had started to prepare for detailed engineering data to formulate irrigation programs in 2022 in Barangay Canipaan and Ransang in the municipality of Rizal, and Brgy. Sta. Teresita and Sto. Tomas in Dumaran.

Division Manager Engr. Conrado Cardenas, Jr said that the continuous link of irrigation projects in priority areas of NTF-ELCAC which are identified by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is also a measure to prepare for a potential food crisis in the future.

“NIA aims to continuously link irrigation projects in the priority areas of NTF-ELCAC. For almost five years, the irrigation projects have been one of the subsidized priorities of the government because agricultural livelihood is the hope of the future generation for food especially in times of crisis,” he said.

Even NIA-PIMO has already constructed 31 irrigation systems in 57 high-priority areas, the planning unit of the engineering section is continuously conducting feasibility studies to determine the year-round dependability of irrigation water once the project was constructed in the barangays of Ransang and Canipaan, Rizal.

Residents declared that the potential area for irrigation is over 1,000 hectares of rice lands, which is a criteria concept to consider the project proposal as National Irrigation Project (NIP) upon series of validation.

One of the development strategies of PIMO is to construct a diversion dam in Brgy. Sta. Teresita, Dumaran with a total designed area of 200 hectares and provide solar Pump Irrigation Project (PIP) in Sitio Palukpok and Sitio Casipulo in Brgy. Sto. Tomas with a total designed area of 40 hectares in Dumaran Island.

NIA stated in a recent statement that Dumaran mayor Arnel Caabay told the agency that the “municipality is far behind from growth opportunities compared to other towns in Palawan.”

He believes that the implementation of irrigation projects will provide enough capacity to comply with food and efficient ways to “reduce the local communist and poverty.”

“Since agriculture is the backbone of the Philippine economy and the main source of livelihood in the province of Palawan, the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted food demand and food security in which economic condition is taking advantage by local communists,” NIA noted.

The agency continuously provides irrigation projects in isolated areas to meet the basic needs of the communities particularly the vulnerable groups in Palawan while following health and safety protocols at the time of the pandemic, it added.

Cardenas has started to attend meetings with local government units and irrigator’s associations (IAs) of those barangays to orient the community on the importance of irrigation system especially for those areas which were not previously prioritized for developments.

The intervention of NIA is in support of the guidelines of Executive Order no. 70 series of 2018 which was signed by Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte to sustain peace and development in conflict-affected areas.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.