Abbuyog, Kalinga’s local term for bayanihan or community labor, was also the main tool of about 70 members of the Matagoan Irrigators’ Association in temporarily restoring the washed out canal in Brgy. Ipil, Tabuk City.
About 25 meters of the Tabuk Supply Canal 2B, part of the Upper Chico River Irrigation System (UCRIS), the region’s largest national irrigation system, was damaged in the evening of September 28. According to Engr. Noly Sabado, head of the Operation and Maintenance Section of the Kalinga Irrigation Management Office (IMO), the damage to the canal is attributed to the deterioration of the old irrigation facilities which may have been triggered by the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong.
Sabado lauded the cooperative spirit of the Matagoan IA who responded immediately for the temporary restoration of the damaged canal while Kalinga IMO awaits the funding for the program of work they have submitted for the construction of permanent canal embankment. The farmers together with the O&M personnel of Kalinga IMO were able to construct a provisional embankment made of 800 bags of mud soil.
The immediate restoration of the canal, though temporary, will save about 600 hectares of standing crops which are still under vegetative stage and critically need irrigation.
New Backhoe Arrives in UCRIS
The united effort of the farmers was augmented by the timely arrival of the brand new backhoe, all the way from NIA Central Office in Quezon City.
Earlier in September, the NIA procured units of heavy equipment which were distributed to the different field offices of NIA nationwide to be used in irrigation project implementation, as well as in the operation and maintenance of existing National and Communal Irrigation Systems.
“The heavy equipment in sight are the first we received after almost 30 years. Ganon katagal na walang bagong heavy equipment ang ating ahensiya. Thanks to President [Rodrigo Roa] Duterte for his strong support to NIA in its irrigation development program. We still have a proposed budget of P149.5 million for 23 wheeled excavators in the next two years. I hope that this step would serve as an essential instrument towards the achievement of a new milestone for the Agency,” said BGen Abraham B Bagasin (Ret), NIA Senior Deputy Administrator, during the delivery of the heavy equipment units in NIA Central Office in Quezon City on September 10.
Sabado said he hopes more heavy equipment arrive for the UCRIS as these are necessities in times of emergency damages such as this and in the maintenance of irrigation facilities.
The purchase of heavy equipment forms part of the equipment modernization program under the four-point agenda of Gen Ricardo Visaya (Ret), NIA Administrator. //Mylene Malecdan
Photo 1 Caption: Matagoan Irrigators’ Association of Tabuk, Kalinga together with Kalinga IMO personnel work hand in hand to temporarily restore the washed out irrigation canal of the Upper Chico River Irrigation System (UCRIS). Photo by Agnep Afidchao
Photo 2 Caption: The brand new backhoe purchased by NIA Central Office arrives in time in Kalinga to augment the restoration of the washed out irrigation canal.