Hundreds of Albay farmers are hopeful for the speedy completion of the South Quinale Irrigation Rubber Dam rehabilitation in Libon town, Albay 3rd District Rep. Fernando Cabredo said Tuesday.
Cabredo said National Irrigation Administration (NIA) chief Ricardo Visaya gave his assurance for the prompt completion of the project during the recent inquiry of the House committee on agriculture and food in connection with the 299 delayed irrigation projects of the agency all over the country.
The Albay solon, in a phone interview, said during the hearing Visaya vowed to fast-track the repair of the rubber dam hopefully by the end of this year.
“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,” Cabredo said.
A NIA report said the dam’s rubber tube was damaged due to wear and tear last year, prompting the agency to order a replacement from a Chinese firm since there were no spare parts available from local suppliers.
Agriculture data indicate that the 750 hectares of rice land serviced by the rubber dam have two planting seasons per year and can produce about 90,000 sacks of palay per harvest.
A farmer can earn a net profit of PHP50,000 to PHP80,000 per hectare out of his palay harvest.
The delay in the rubber tube replacement has deprived hundreds of farmers of income for about two planting seasons, resulting in an estimated production loss of PHP153 million.
The NIA has spent PHP38 million for the purchase and replacement of the rubber tube that was bought from Yantal Sunny Rubber Co., Ltd. a supplier from China.
Alan Pabricante, NIA acting manager for Albay, in a letter said the shipment already arrived at the Port of Manila last Sept. 15 and it would be delivered to the province after complying with Bureau of Customs regulations.
The town of Libon is considered the “rice granary” of the province and host to two irrigation dams — the Delcasa Irrigation Dam which services 455 hectares of rice lands in Barangays West Carisac, Zone 7 in Del Rosario and San Agustin, and the South Quinale Rubber Dam that serves nine villages in Libon and Oas towns. (PNA)