NIA Campsite, Barangay Sula, San Jose, Tarlac
26 May 2016
President Benigno S. Aquino III led the launching of the Balog-Balog Multi-Purpose Project Phase II at the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Camp in Barangay Sula, San Jose, Tarlac.
With a total cost of PhP13.37 billion, the project encompasses the construction of the Balog-Balog Earth-Fill Dam at the upper Bulsa River, and the creation of its irrigation canals and structures. The project also covers flood control and mitigation, inland fish productions, the potential hydropower generation of 43.5 megawatts (MW), and the irrigation of nine towns namely, Paniqui, Pura, Ramos, Victoria, Gerona, San Jose, Lapaz, Capas, Concepcion, and Tarlac City.
“Oras daw na makumpleto ito, mabibigyan ng irigasyon ang kabuuang 34,410 hektaryang lupain sa Tarlac City at siyam na munisipalidad sa Tarlac. Ang makikinabang dito: hindi bababa sa 23,000 na magsasaka. Inaasahan na mapapataas nito ang produksyon ng bigas kada taon mula 126,480 metriko tonelada, patungong 350,980 metriko tonelada,” President Aquino said.
Furthermore, the project aims for the development and implementation of a Resettlement Program for the 745 families affected by the dam and the reservoir, increase of cropping intensity in the project area from 124% to 200%, generation of on-farm and off-farm employment, provision of livelihood opportunities to the upland communities through the commercial inland fish production, and the improvement of the local eco-tourism industry.
The Balog-Balog Multi-Purpose Project Phase II was approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board on May 19, 2015 which signaled its implementation. It got the nod of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) on February 17, 2016 through the issuance of a Certification of Precondition (CP). The second phase of the project was implemented last year and is expected to be finished in 2018.
“Tunay po: Napakalayo na ng ating narating. Noon, ‘pag may problema, ang bukambibig ng nasa pwesto: ‘Walang pondo,’ at ‘Bahala na kayo sa buhay niyo.’ Ngayon, tapos na ang panahon ng pag-iwas sa mga obligasyon. Mula imprastraktura, kalusugan, edukasyon, hanggang sa mga programang pangkabuhayan, inihahatid natin ang mga serbisyong matagal nang hinihintay ng Pilipino,” President Aquino concluded.
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