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President Aquino says reforms are in place to address concerns of water sector that will revitalize country’s agricultural and energy sectors

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President Benigno S. Aquino III, assisted by Senator Franklin Drilon, Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, former Governor Neil Tupas, Sr. and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, lowers the time capsule during the ceremonial groundbreaking of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project (JRMP) II at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol along Bonifacio Drive in Iloilo City on Thursday (February 21). The Php11.21 billion JRMP II project is a priority irrigation project of the Department of Agriculture (DA) designed to significantly contribute to sustaining the country’s rice self-sufficiency level. (MNS photo)

IlOILO CITY, Feb 22 (Mabuhay) — President Benigno S. Aquino III said that various reforms are already in place to effectively address all the issues and concerns of the water sector as part of the administration’s efforts to revitalize the country’s agriculture and energy sectors.

In his speech during the ceremonial ground-breaking of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project (JRMP) Stage II held at the Iloilo Provincial Building along Bonifacio Drive on Thursday, the Chief Executive assured that the government continues to implement various programs to achieve the government’s goal of rice self-sufficiency by year 2013.

He said the JRMP project in Iloilo province will boost the country’s agriculture sector.

“Oras na matapos ang proyekto, apatnapu’t tatlong porsyento ng lupang agraryo dito sa Iloilo ang magkakaroon ng irigasyon. Ibig-sabihin, inaasahan natin na dodoble ang maaaning bigas sa rehiyon, at aangat nang tatlumpung porsyento ang produksyon pati na ng tubo. Ilan lamang po ito sa positibong ambag ng Jalaur River Project sa ating sektor ng agrikultura,” the President said.

The P11.21 billion project will also boost the energy and trade sectors.

“Malinaw po, kung ang layunin natin ay ang pangalagaan ang interes at kinabukasan ng ating mamamayan, dapat lamang na karugtong nito ang paninigurong may maayos na mekanismo’t malinaw na istratehiya para sa sistemang patubig ng ating bansa,” the President stressed.

The JRMP project will also augment the supply of good quality and potable water for domestic and industrial consumption in the nearby municipalities, including Iloilo City. It also aims to realize other intangible benefits including flooding mitigation and promotion of eco-tourism in selected dam/reservoir areas.

“Tunay nga pong maituturing na bukal ng buhay nating mga Pilipino ang tubig. Maliban sa pinapalibutan nito ang ating pitong libo’t isandaang mga isla, sa tubig din tayo umaasa para punan ang mga pangangailangan sa enerhiya, gayundin sa pagpapalago sa ating mga palayang pinagkukunan ng pagkain,” the President said.

“Idiin ko lang kaunti sa inyo — ang nasa dam, tinitingnan po ang tubig bilang resource, lalo na kung hydroelectric, kailangan i-preserve niya. Ang problema naman ng magsasaka, kailangan ang tubig pang-irigasyon at control naman sa pagbaha,” he said.

The President also cited that the government has already finished crafting the water sector master plan to address issues concerning water.

He said Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson has likewise submitted the proposed Water Sector Restructuring and Implementation Plan to ensure the efficient flow of water resources.

“Inatasan po natin ang kalihim ng Public Works and Highways at naging Water Czar na si Babes Singson na pamunuan ang komiteng ito, at gaya po ng iba pa nating hamon kay Secretary Singson, hindi po niya tayo binigo —naisumite na niya ang isang panukala para sa Water Sector Restructuring and Implementation Plan na titiyak na malinaw ang mandato ng bawat ahensiyang tutugon sa ating pangangailangang pantubig,” the President said.

“Hindi lamang po basta pagbibigay ng malinis na tubig ang ating hangarin. Kailangan din na maiwasan ang pag-aaksaya nito, at mapabuti ang ating wastewater management system,” he said.

The President also cited the government’s partnership with the South Korean government and Korean Export-Import Bank in implementing projects for the Filipino communities.

“Hindi rin po natin maaaring makalimutan na magpaabot ng taos-pusong pasasalamat sa ating mga international partners—ang pamahalaan ng South Korea at ang Korean Export-Import Bank, na katuwang natin sa pagpapaunlad sa ating mga komunidad,” he said.

He thanked South Korean President Lee Myung-bak for all the support extended to the government in implementing various projects and initiatives for the Filipino communities.

“Alam po n’yo si President Lee Myung-bak ay pababa na sa puwesto nitong buwan na ito, pero talaga naman hong kung turingin tayo ay para na rin tayong kamag-anak niya o kapatid niyang dapat tulungan dahil naalala raw po nila noong sila ang nangangailangan, tayo rin po ang tumulong sa kanila,” he said. (MNS)

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