Following yesterday’s launch of the Balog-Balog Multipurpose Project (BBMP) Phase II in San Jose, Tarlac, former Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Secretary and returning Senator Kiko Pangilinan is optimistic that this will bolster the farm productivity in the region- almost 30 years in the waiting.
“Our farmers have been waiting a long time for this. Expanding the coverage of irrigation to more areas would mean more irrigated farmlands that can increase the rice production by threefold- up to 177.5 %,” Pangilinan said.
The project seeks to irrigate 21,935 hectares of new areas, as well as provide enough water supply for the 12,475 hectares of service area under Phase I.
It is estimated to benefit 23,000 farmers, covering 10 municipalities: Gerona, La Paz, Capas, Concepcion, Pura, Victoria, Ramos, San Jose, Paniqui and Tarlac City.
BBMP was first approved by the NEDA in 1988, and has been stalled for 28 years due to bureaucratic conflict aggravated by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo and changes in the administration.
During his term as PAFSAM where the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) was under his wing, Pangilinan caused the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)-approval of the project’s second phase, amounting to almost Php 13.37 billion.
BBMP Phase II is included in the July 2015 turn-over of projects to irrigator’s associations.
Pangilinan also expressed continued support for irrigation initiatives, as he reclaims a Senate seat.
“We will continue to ensure that our farmers have access to irrigation by way of oversight. We are also exploring alternative irrigations systems that could benefit our farmers, and this will be part of my priority legislation come the 17th Congress,” he said.