• NIA restores Bicol irrigation systems for rice farms

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    NAGA CITY: The National Irrigation Administration in Bicol has irrigated at least 1,093 hectares of ricelands following the restoration of non-functional irrigation facilities and structures despite of slow release of funds, Ed Yu, NIA public relations officer, told The Manila Times.

    Last year, NIA implemented a total of 158 projects with a total allocation of P490.2 million.

    “These finished projects irrigated 197 hectares of previously rainfed areas, restored irrigation service to 1,093 hectares of rice farms and repaired irrigation facilities and structures in 1,576 hectares of ricelands,” he said.

    Currently, 75 projects are still ongoing construction and expected to be finished by end of March this year, while works in six projects have not yet started, he said.

    Vicente Vicmudo, NIA Bicol regional director, said the 77 completed irrigation projects are located in Albay with 25 followed by Sorsogon with 23; Camarines Norte with seven; Camarines Sur with 17; and Masbate with five.

    Vicmundo said his office could have done more projects in Bicol if the Department of Budget and Management released the irrigation agency’s fund early in 2015.

    “We could have completed more projects last year had funds for them have been released early as funds for our 2015 projects were released by the Department of Budget and Management only in the last week of July, thus construction works on the projects began only in August,” he said.

    “But despite of only five months left to finish the projects by December, we were able to achieved a 74.24-percent overall physical accomplishment last year,” Vicmudo added. The physical accomplishment in 2014 was 62.06 percent.

    NIA-Bicol also earned P56.7 million last year.

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