Various government agencies will launch the Mindanao Water Supply and Irrigation Systems Project here on December 6, the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) said on Wednesday.
In a press statement, MinDa said the project will be launched in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), and selected Mindanao local government units (LGUs).
“We want our LGUs to access funding for the establishment of solar water supply and irrigation systems not only to provide potable water for their remote villages but also to prepare them for the expected El Niño next year,” MinDA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said.
Piñol said the project aims to provide sources of safe drinking water for the off-grid villages in Mindanao and Palawan, while at the same time give farmers access to irrigation water for their crops, particularly rice.
“We cannot let the 2,000 barangays in Mindanao to still live without safe sources of drinking water. More so we have to assist LGUs to irrigate their 100,000 hectares of rice farms to counter the El Niño next year,” he said.
The Solar Powered Irrigation System (SPIS) is a brainchild of Piñol during his stint as secretary of the Department of Agriculture.
The SPIS has been proven to increase farmers’ productivity, allowing them to plant rice two times a year and increase their yield.
“Since we cannot grant the program fully free to the farmers, we can secure the help of DBP by providing loan assistance with significant low interest through their LGUs,” he added.
Piñol said he met with DBP president Emmanuel Barbosa to ensure that LGUs with small Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) shares will be given lower interest rates.
He added that DILG Secretary Eduardo Año also requested MinDA to provide counterpart support for the LGUs.
The governors and mayors from Mindanao and Palawan are expected to witness the said launching. (PNA)