Government eyes P42.6-B Chinese aid for irrigation projects
The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) hopes to secure a P42.6-billion loan from the Chinese government for six flagship irrigation projects that will be completed before the end of President Duterte’s term.
The NIA management met with Commercial Counselor Jin Yuan and Second Secretary Yang Ming from the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines to discuss partnership and financial aid for the country’s irrigation sector.
“They will evaluate our projects which are targeted to be completed during the Duterte administration. They said that they are very open in terms of financing as long as they see that these are feasible,” NIA spokesperson Pilipina Bermudez said.
Several investments and financing were discussed during the state visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to China last month.
“They said they had to implement based on the commitments given during the state visit,” Bermudez said.
Included in the pipeline is the P15-billion Ilocos Norte irrigation project covering the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur and Abra with an estimated service area of 12,400 hectares.
The NIA is also looking at the implementation of the P14.8-billion Panay River Basin Integrated Development project in Iloilo and Capiz that will irrigate 28,000 hectares and benefit 19 municipalities.
Also part of the plan is the construction of the P4.1-billion Bohol Northeast Basin Multipurpose Dam project that will cover the irrigation of an estimated area of 12,500 hectares covering six municipalities.
Another flagship program is the P4-billion Tumaini River Multipurpose project in Cagayan Valley that will generate an estimated service area of more than 4,000 hectares.
Completing the six major projects are the P3.5-billion Gregorio del Pilar Impounding project in Ilocos Sur and P1.2-billion Asbang Small Reservoir Impounding project in Davao del Sur, that will irrigate 5,000 and 469 hectares, respectively.
All six projects are undergoing feasibility studies and are expected to be finished until the first half of 2017, which will then be submitted to China for further assessment.
“We believe the Philippines is one of the most important economies in Asia. We would like to request for the project proposals and see which we can push through,” Yuan said.
“According to them, they will fast track the assessment so probably until the end of 2017. Then implementation will commence 2018. We really want to finish all before the end of the term,” Bermudez said.
Meanwhile, NIA administrator Florencio Padernal said NIA would work in parallel with the National Economic Development Authority, the prime agency coordinating with the China Exim Bank Financing.
“We are happy that it can be the fruitful start of future collaborations between the two countries,” he added.
By: Louise Maureen Simeon, PhilStar
Published By: Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) Admin