Villar to probe much-delayed irrigation project in Tarlac

Published November 21, 2020, 10:56 AM

by Mario Casayuran

The Senate agriculture committee vowed to dig deeper into the delayed construction of the multi-billion peso, two-phased Balog-Balog multipurpose  irrigation project  in San Jose, Tarlac of the late President Corazon C. Aquino that started in 1992.

Sen. Cynthia Villar (Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Sen. Cynthia A. Villar, committee chairwoman, told Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson that she would conduct the probe as soon as he has filed a resolution on this issue.

This took place late Friday night during the Senate deliberation on the 2021 budget of the Department of Agriculture.  

Lacson lashed out at the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) over this project which remains only 29.56 percent complete at a cost of P7.7 billion. 

Its revised completion date is June 2021.

The project had no appropriation since 2018 but it will now get P600 million in the 2021 NIA budget.

‘’What can P600 million do?’’ Lacson asked. 

‘’The only thing I can promise is from now on I will monitor this so we will do a better job in the future. Kung ako si President (Noynoy) Aquino tinapos ko na noong time niya…,’’ Vlllar told Lacson. 

(If I were President Noynoy Aquino, I would have finished it during my incumbency)

Lacson cited a 2017 Commission on Audit (CoA) report which stated that most of the 299 projects with appropriations of P207 billion are delayed for as long as six years.

The NIA has an average annual budget of P38 billion.