MANILA, Feb. 4 (PNA) – Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday stressed the need to immediately pass a Senate bill providing for a six-year accelerated irrigation program for the construction and rehabilitation of irrigation projects.
Marcos learned during the Senate public works committee hearing on Senate Bill No. 14 or National Irrigation Program of 2013 and SB No. 34 or Accelerated Irrigation Act that out of 3.1 million hectares of irrigable lands, only 1.7 million hectares have complete irrigation systems.
”This (bill) is very important because if we have no enough irrigation system, we cannot achieve our target of rice-self sufficiency,” Marcos said after the public hearing.
Marcos said well-built irrigation systems will increase the yields of the rice farms.
The senator said at least P25 billion a year will be needed to construct much-needed irrigation systems.
”If we will prioritize the self-sufficiency in rice, we should prioritize the irrigation of all the irrigable lands so that our production will increase,” Marcos said.
He said complete irrigation system is also necessary to prepare the agriculture sector for the ASEAN Economic Integration 2015.
”In terms of system, in terms of funding, all these are needed so that we will be able to prepare for the opening of Philippine market in rice in 2015,” he added.
Marcos said the role of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) is crucial to achieve the goal of rice self-sufficiency. (PNA)