By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has inaugurated the newly rehabilitated Malatgao River Irrigation System (Malatgao RIS) in Palawan, which is part of the National Irrigation Sector Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (NISRIP) that is being funded through a grant from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Costing ₱189.36 million to build, the project is expected to provide timely and reliable irrigation service to 3,014.73 hectares of agricultural land in the municipalities of Narra and Aborlan in Palawan, benefitting as much as 1,585 farmers and their families.
The rehabilitation works of Malatgao RIS involved three diversion dams, 25.26 kilometers of concrete canal lining, 23.77 kilometers of gravel surfacing, 42 canal structures, one drainage structure, 55 turnout structures, nine Irrigators Association (IA) buildings, and two IA offices with support facilities.
The inauguration and turnover ceremony was led by Cabinet Secretary and NIA Board Chairman Karlo Alexei B. Nograles.
Joining him were NIA Deputy Administrator for Administrative and Finance Sector Romeo Gan, Deputy Chief of Mission (Japan Embassy) Yasushi Yamamoto, Agricultural Attache (Japan Embassy) Tetsuharo Mori, and JICA Senior Representative Jin Hirosawa.
During the event, Nograles emphasized the contribution of Malatgao RIS in the agriculture sector of the country.
“To sustain the momentum, irrigation is key and the irrigation system like the one we are inaugurating today is part of government efforts to continue building on the progress we have made in the agriculture sector,” Nograles said.
“With this project, we hope to boost per hectare productivity by 25 to 50 percent, an improvement that will benefit 3,000 farmers and their families, and the thousands of Filipinos especially in Palawan who are dependent on rice,” he added.
Nograles also thanked JICA for the continuous assistance of the government of Japan to the Philippines particularly in Palawan.
NIA is the lead government agency mandated to develop all possible sources of water for irrigation.