TABUK CITY, Kaliga – No communities and farmlands in this rice-producing province will be submerged once the multi-billion Chico pump irrigation project which will be funded by a grant from the Chinese will be completed in the future, Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang said here.
Mangaoang, vice chairman of the House committee on natural resources, said the Chico River pump irrigation project will be situated in Pinukpuk wherein some 4,000 hectares of farmlands will benefit from the put up of the facility and part of the rice farms that will benefit from it will be those situated in Pinukpuk and Rizal towns in the province aside from the agricultural areas in nearby Cagayan.
Initially, the Kalinga lawmaker and Mountain Province caretaker congressman said that the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) provided some P3.135 billion to jumpstart the project while awaiting for the release of the grant from the Chinese government that will complete the project in a span of several years.
“The irrigation program is a China funded project composed of soft loans and grants to which the Chinese government will be the main builders of the project,” Mangaoang stressed.
“The source of the water will be coming from Kalinga side of the Chico river after the Saltan and Chico river may have joined having a greater volume of irrigation water which would hopefully spill over to the municipalities in Rizal, Kalinga and then to Sta. Maria, Isabela, Enrile and Tu-ao with other municipalities of Cagayan benefitting from the project,” Mangaoang added.
He explained that the technology to be used in the state-of-the-art irrigation project is for the water to be pumped up to a reservoir and then allowed to flow down the system to provide adequate irrigation water for the vast tracks of agricultural lands in the provinces of Kalinga, Isabela and Cagayan.
According to him, it is not true that there will be a number of villages and farmlands that will be submerged by the implementation of the project but what is significant is that there are a number of communities and thousands of farmers who stand to benefit from abundant irrigation water once the project will be completed.
Mangaoang claimed that the total project cost is over $800 million from the grant that will be provided by the Chinese government but the government shouldered the initial fund to start the works for the pump storage irrigation project now at its early stage of implementation.
Kalinga is considered to be the rice granary of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) because of the substantial volume of rice produced by the province due to the existence of vast tracks of agricultural farms, especially in the lowland communities.
Mangaoang appealed to concerned sectors of the province not to create disinformation regarding the project because thousands of farmers will be the ones that will benefit from the pump storage facility that will be built along a portion of the Chico river.
He asserted that it will be unfair for critics of the project to ride on the Chico river dam issue in the 1980s just to gain sympathy for their opposition to the project because the two projects are totally different from each other in terms of magnitude and their benefits to the communities.