By JUNE S. BLANCO
PHYSICAL Works for the Bonotbonot Small Reservoir Irrigation Project (SRIP) in Buenavista town will go full blast now.
This after Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr., Administrator Ricardo Visaya and Region 7 Director Modesto Membreve of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado of Bohol’s 2nd District and Buenavista Mayor Ronald Lowell Tirol led groundbreaking rites at the proposed site on June 26.
As early as November 2015, Aumentado had revealed that the P70-million project to be proposed in NIA’s 2016 fund for insertion into the General Appropriations Act GAA).
The solon’s father, former governor and immediate congressional predecessor Erico Boyles Aumentado and Membreve had proposed the project, along with the Benliw (Ubay) SRIP at P100 million, the Mabini-Cayacay SRIP at P85 million and the Malinao (Pilar) Dam Improvement Project at P200 million.
For Tagbilaran City-based NIA Region 7, only these four projects made it to the cut in the 2016 GAA under its locally funded Rapid, Inclusive, and Sustained Economic Growth projects.
While most regional offices are based in Cebu, the elder Aumentado pushed for the creation of the NIA Region 7 office in Bohol – the region’s rice granary. Bohol used to belong to NIA Region 8 based in Tacloban City.
The Evasco-Visaya-Membreve-Aumentado team also visited Danao town where the Hibale SRIP is also being planned to be constructed.
Aumentado said Evasco and President Duterte are working hard to give more benefits to the farmers. Evasco was Duterte’s campaign manager during the latter’s presidential bid. Both are working towards the realization of their campaign promise of construction more irrigation projects and that farmers will be able to avail of irrigation services, this time, free of charge.
The solon said he and Visaya, retired Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines under President Duterte, will meet in Manila most likely before the Chief Executive gives his State of the Nation Address (SONA), with would-be investors for the Hibale and the Northeast Bohol Catch Basin.
As envisioned by the elder Aumentado, the huge project is expected to irrigate 19,000 more hectares of rice lands in the northern Bohol towns. On top of irrigation, it will also have power, potable water and eco-tourism components.
It will be designed to generate at least 10 megawatts of power. It is also expected to make potable water available to far-flung barangays not yet served by the existing small waterworks projects of the beneficiary towns, the solon added.