SANTA CRUZ, Laguna (PIA) — The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) continues to promote food security, a priority program of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. under his 8-point socioeconomic agenda.
In a forum on May 18 at the Cultural Center of Laguna in Santa Cruz, NIA Senior Deputy Administrator Engr. Robert Suguitan called for cooperation, convergence, and coordination among the agricultural stakeholders in the region in order to realize the President’s goal.
“Iyan po ang focus ng gobyerno ngayon. Lahat ng cooperation na maha-harness namin sa iba’t-ibang agency especially those involved sa agriculture and sa LGUs po. Salamat sa pagpapahayag ng suporta ninyo sa mga programa ng NIA,” Suguitan said.
He added: “Hindi namin kaya na kami-kami lang. Dapat ang efforts natin ngayon ay convergence. Sama-sama. Naka-focus lang sa iisang programa tungo sa food security.”
The conduct of the regional stakeholders’ forum is one of NIA's mechanisms to present its direction and policy agenda while gathering feedback from the farmers on how the agency can improve its irrigation service.
NIA records showed, the CALABARZON region has an estimated total potential irrigable area of 85, 929 hectares of agricultural land. Out of this, NIA managed to develop a total of 67,451 hectares which translates to 78.50% irrigation development in the region.
In 2022, there were about 75 completed irrigation projects situated in various provinces in the region.
Suguitan lauded the farmers and different irrigators association in the region for their sacrifices and efforts exerted to the agriculture sector even as he stressed the importance of having an adequate and effective irrigation system.
“Salamat po at tinatangkilik ninyo ang agriculture. Salamat po at kasama namin kayong nangangalaga sa ating mga tubigan, sa ating mga kanal, at mga istraktura. Kundi po sa inyong pangangalaga, hindi magtatagal ang ating mga pasilidad.”
“Sa pamunuan ng Regional Confederation of Irrigators Association... salamat sa pagkalinga ninyo at pagtulong ninyo sa NIA. Kung wala kayo, magkukulang tayo sa pagkain. Ang inaadhika nating lahat ay there is sufficient food on the table,” he said.
Suguitan pointed out that having a ‘whole-of-government’ approach in food security will benefit farmers and irrigators’ associations.
He believes that it will also lessen the country's reliance to importation of agricultural goods which will then bring more profit to farmers.
“Sana tayo po ay patuloy na nagtutulungan hindi lang sa pangalan ng NIA kundi sa pangalan ng ating pamahalaan. Ang intention po ay magkaroon ng food security. Ang intention po ay mapakain natin lahat ng mga mamamayan. Sufficient food on the table. Malaki po ang gagampanan ng ating mga magsasaka diyan.”
Event highlight was the signing of a pledge of commitment by officials, government representative, irrigators’ associations, and farmers to NIA’s programs and initiatives. (CH/PIA-Laguna)