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President Marcos Inaugurates Biggest Solar-Powered Irrigation Project In Isabela

President Marcos Inaugurates Biggest Solar-Powered Irrigation Project In Isabela

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President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Monday inaugurated the Cabaruan Solar-Powered Pump Irrigation Project (SPIP) in Quirino town, Isabela, the biggest solar-powered pump irrigation system in the country.

The Cabaruan SPIP, a project of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) under the Mangat River Integrated Irrigation System (MARIIS), was constructed from July 6, 2023 to February 2024 with a total project cost of PHP 65.77 million.

The system is powered by 1,056 solar panels that can produce 739,200 watts of power for its two submersible pumps, with each pump capable of discharging 12,800 gallons per minute,

It is the biggest solar-powered pump irrigation project in the Philippines, and is expected to irrigate 350 hectares of rice field, benefitting almost 237 palay farmers.

In his speech, Marcos said farmers would be able to save and benefit greatly from the project’s strategic design.

“Napakalaki ng naging katipiran natin dito dahil bukod sa libre na ang pagkukuhanan ng kuryente, inilagay mismo sa taas ng irrigation canal ang ating solar panel, kaya hindi nito mababawasan ang lupang tinataniman ng ating mga magsasaka (We will be able to save a lot from this project because aside from the free electricity supply, our solar panels were placed right at the top of the irrigation canal, so it will not reduce the land area being cultivated by our farmers),” Marcos said.

The President said a total of 15 mass solar-powered pump irrigation projects and two small solar-powered irrigation projects have earlier been distributed by NIA in the Cagayan Valley Region.

In total, Marcos said, the government has already finished 82 solar-powered pump irrigation projects across the country since 2023.

“At tinitiyak ko sa inyong lahat na dadagdagan pa natin ito sa mga susunod na buwan at sa mga susunod na taon (And I assure all of you that more will be constructed in the coming months and years),” Marcos emphasized.


Magat Dam rehabilitation

Meanwhile, the Chief executive commended NIA for its dedication and commitment to ensuring the completion of key irrigation projects, even as he directed the agency to look for more possible irrigation systems that may be installed with a power-generation facility, like the Magat Dam.

According to the President, NIA is currently studying possible projects that may be done to modernize the four-decade-old Magat Dam.

“Kaya sa araw na ito, ikinararangal ko na sundan ang yapak ng aking ama at dagdagan ang lahat ng kanyang nagawa para sa ating mga magsasaka at kanilang mga pamilya (On this day, I am honored to follow the footsteps of my father and build on the projects that he has done for our farmers and their families),” he said.

The dam was constructed during the leadership of the President’s father, the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr.


More funding

House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Monday said he would propose more funding for solar-powered irrigation pumps in unirrigated farming communities when the House considers the annual national budget.

“That’s the only way we can bring irrigation to these areas,” he said in a statement.

Before joining the President and other officials in the inauguration of the Cabaruan SPIP, Romualdez led the distribution of 17 solar pumps that would help hundreds of farmers irrigate their farms in Isabela, one of the country’s major rice and corn-producing provinces.

He said irrigation is a major component of producing rice, corn and other agricultural products not only in Isabela but in other parts of the country as well.

“We have to help our farmers with irrigation and other farm inputs like fertilizer and seeds so they can increase their produce. They should aim to double it,” he added.

The solar pumps were part of NIA’s project meant to expand the irrigated areas in the country pursuant to President Marcos’ vision to boost agricultural production, particularly of rice. (PNA)