The San Isidro and Peñaranda Solar-Powered Pump Projects of the NIA Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation Systems (UPRIIS) Division IV located at Brgy. Pulo, San Isidro, Nueva Ecija and Brgy. San Josef, Peñaranda, Nueva Ecija was inaugurated on July 27, 2021.
NIA Administrator Ricardo R. Visaya, Deputy Administrator Romeo G. Gan, UPRIIS Department Manager Rosalinda B. Bote and Division IV Manager Wilfredo A. Balauro led the ceremonies in three solar powered pump sites with Guest Local Chief Executives, Congresswoman Maricel Natividad-Nagaño; Representative of Nueva Ecija Governor Aurelio Umali, Executive Assistant V Ferdinand Abesamis; and Representative of San Isidro Mayor Vina Lopez, Councilor Carlos Francisco.
The event involved the unveiling of the building marker, ribbon cutting, ceremonial blessing of the solar powered pumps, ceremonial test run of the pumps, and a program wherein NIA Administrator Visaya was the Guest of Honor and Speaker. Following immediately the program was a media briefing and awarding of plaque of appreciation by the Contractor Equator Energy Corporation by Col. Bernardo F. Fabula.
Joining also the celebration were the Division Managers and key staff from NIA Central Office and UPRIIS, Irrigators Associations Presidents Dante Lazatin (UCFIA President), Jaime Reyes of Penaranda IA and Ricardo Pelayo of Malimba Bantog Manggahan IA, other LGU representatives, military and police chiefs and their men, partner stakeholders and some media personnel.
During the program proper, Penaranda IA President Reyes led the acceptance of the newly-inaugurated Peñaranda solar-powered irrigation pump project and extended his gratitude to the NIA Top Management and UPRIIS Top Officials for being one of the two IA-beneficiaries of these solar projects. In his speech, he quoted “Nasisiyahan ang buong pamunuan ng Penaranda IA dahil isang mabiyaya at patunay na kaunlaran ang nangyari sa amin. Sana at tuloy-tuloy ang pagtulong inyo sa amin.”
Also in his acceptance speech, representative of San Isidro LGU, Councilor Francisco also thanked the Agency and Administrator Visaya for the positive impact that these projects may actually bring especially to the local farmers of San Isidro in increasing their farm yields and income, while cutting down their expenses in using the traditional diesel-powered pump. He then stated, “Malaking tulong ito sa mga magsasaka sapagkat hindi na sila momroblema sa pagbili ng diesel at magkakaroon pa ng third crop [ang Bayan ng San Isidro].”
Department Manager Bote said during her project overview that the installation of solar-powered pumps is part of the Agency’s thrust to foster proficiency and resiliency for proficient irrigation service through innovations and modernizations as directed by the NIA Administrator. She added, “The use of innovative solar pumps helps reduce cost inputs in farms as it implores cost effective alternative power source. It therefore promotes poverty allevation and income increase among our partner IAs.”
The Peñaranda Solar Powered Pump Irrigation Project, whose main water source comes from the Peñaranda Dam through PENRIS Main Canal, is a P20.461-M project that is expected to provide reliable and proficient irrigation water supply in its 228.878-hectare service area located in Barangays Poblacion I, Poblacion II, Santo Tomas in Peñaranda, and Pambuan, Gapan City, benefitting a total of 114 farmer-members of Penaranda IA.
The San Isidro Solar Powered Pump Project on the other hand, is situated in Brgy. Pulo, San Isidro, Nueva Ecija. With a total project cost of P17,780.519.47, this project will benefit 159 farmer-beneficiaries and their families in 323.2762-hectare agricultural lands, covering the Barangays Pulo and Mangga in San Isidro, Nueva Ecija. Its main water source is from Malimba Creek.
Representative of the 4th District of Nueva Ecija, Congresswoman Nagaño, and LGU of Nueva Ecija Representative, Mr. Ferdinand Abesamis likewise extended their appreciation to the whole NIA Management for their continuous effort to help the farmers of Nueva Ecija through the provision of efficient and excellent irrigation services. They both said the LGU will continue to work hand in hand with NIA towards the improvement of the local farmers’ lives in the province.
Guest of Honor and Speaker, Administrator Visaya shared during his speech that the construction of these solar projects is part of his Four-Point Agenda particularly in instituting measures to improve the delivery of services, such as but not limited to, modernization of equipment for operations and project implementation. Modernizing the existing use of diesel-powered pumps or generators into solar-powered pumps will significantly benefit the farmers in the long-run because aside from its cost effectiveness and efficiency, these projects ensure year-round irrigation supply that may result to an increase in farm produce allowing third cropping season and thus, the Administrator said that the Agency targets to allocate a total of P1-billion budget for solar-powered pump projects in the year 2022. “Although solar-powered pumps cost millions, mas malaki pa rin ang matitipid ng nila [magsasaka] mas marami ang mapoproduce nila at gaganda ang buhay nila,” he added.
As part of the Agency’s pursuit to promote proficiency in irrigation service through innovation and modernization, these projects are presumed to enormously help the farmers in increasing their income through the use of an environment-friendly and cost effective alternative power source for irrigating farmlands.
-Ma. Elizabeth N. Lopez, PRO of NIA-UPRIIS