LIGAO CITY --- Hundreds of Albay farmers have expressed their sighs of relief after learning that National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Administrator Gen. Ricardo Visaya (Ret) has assured the speedy completion of the replacement of the rubber tube of the South Quinale Rubber Dam in Libon town, Albay 3rd District Rep. Fernando Cabredo said.
Cabredo said on Tuesday, Sept. 29, that the NIA administrator gave his assurance during an inquiry by the House’s Committee on Agriculture and food on Sept. 25 in connection with the Commission on Audit (COA) report on 299 delayed irrigation projects all over the country.
The Albay solon, in an interview, said Administrator Visaya during the inquiry has assured that NIA will fast track the delivery, replacement and repair of the rubber dam hopefully by year-end.
At the committee hearing, “I have manifested the plight of farmers of the 750 hectares of rice lands covering nine villages in the towns of Oas and Libon that were deprived of their livelihood due to the delayed repair and completion of the rubber dam in the South Quinale Irrigation System.”
NIA report said the dams’ rubber tube was damaged due to wear and tear last year. This prompted the agency to order the rubber tube replacement from a Chinese supplier since the rubber tube is not available from local suppliers.
The delay in the replacement of the rubber tube of the dam has resulted to the inability of some 900 farmers to plant since January this year up to the present. The estimated production losses amounted to P153 million.
The NIA has spent P38 million for the purchase and replacement of the rubber tube that was bought from Yantal Sunny Rubber Co., Ltd, a supplier from People’s Republic of China.
Engr. Alan Fabricante, NIA Albay acting manager, said the shipment has arrived at the Port of Manila on Sept. 15 and it would be delivered in Libon after it passes through Bureau of Customs regulations.
The town of Libon is considered the “rice granary” of Albay province. Aside from South Quinale Irrigation System, it has five other NIA-assisted communal irrigation systems (CIS), namely: Prisa Left Quinale CIS; San Agustin CIS; Agos-Sta. Cruz CIS; Lower Talisay CIS; and Bulusan Sta Cruz CIS, with a total service area of some 2,277 hectares of ricelands.
Agriculture data indicate that the 750 hectares rice land serviced by the rubber dam could produce some 90,000 bags of palay per cropping season.
A farmer can make a net profit of between P50,000 to P80,000 per hectare.