OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY)) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo directed today the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) to speed up the rehabilitation of the Salug irrigation system, an essential component of the national government’s program for increased agricultural development, productivity and food security.

The President issued the directive to Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap when she inspected this morning the irrigation system at Barangay Tiaman, here. Some 430 farmers will be benefited by the project.

Welcoming the President upon her arrival at the irrigation site were Misamis Occidental Gov. Loreto Leo Ocampos, Bonifacio Mayor Samson Dumanjug, 2nd District Rep. Herminia Ramiro, Tiaman Brgy. Capt. Elverito Evangelista, Liloan Brgy Capt. Peregirno delos Reyes, Linconan Brgy. Capt. Rene Tangis, and Presidential Assistant for Northern Mindanao Jojo Pupos.

During the briefing, Yap told the President that the Department of Agriculture has allotted P15 million for the repair and rehabilitation of the Salug irrigation system. The rehab works include the construction of irrigation canals, roads and drainage canals. The project, is scheduled to be completed in June 2009.

Yap told the President that the repair/rehabilitation of irrigation canals, canal structures, roads and drainage canals at Barangays Liloan, Lower Usugan, Tiaman and Linconan in the town of Bonifacio, Misamis Occidental are part of the Salug River Irrigation System in Molave, Zamboanga del Sur which covers some 2,165.2 hectares of rice lands.

Included in the P15 million irrigation upgrading project are the rehabilitation of some 300 hectares, restoration of some 150 hectares, upgrading of 6.5 kilometers of drainage canals, and the rehabilitation of some seven kilometers of farm-to-market roads.

Meanwhile, Bonifacio Mayor Samson Dumanjug thanked the President for going out of her way to rehabilitate their irrigation system and for visiting their small town in her first official working day in 2009. TOP

PGMA opens P8M Marine Finfish Hatchery

SINICABAN, Misamis Occidental – President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo inaugurated today the P8-million Marine Finfish Hatchery of the Misamis Occidental Aquamarine Park (MOAP), a priority project designed to promote the agriculture and aquatic products of this province.

From Bonifacio town, the President motored here to grace the ceremonial ribbon-cutting ceremony signaling the formal opening of the MOAP hatchery.

Assisting the President in the ribbon-cutting were Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, Misamis Occidental Gov. Loreto Ocampos, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith, and Misamis Occidental 2nd Dist. Rep. Herminia Ramiro.

Also present were Sinacaban Mayor Delio Lood, Misamis Occidental Vice Gov. Francisco Paylaga Jr., and Minister Counsellor of the Australian Agency for International Development (AUSAID) Titon Mitra.

After the ribbon cutting, the President toured the breeding and hatchery pens at the second floor of the MOAP Hatchery Area.

During the project briefing, Governor Ocampos informed the President that the marine finfish hatchery is a tangible manifestation of the provincial government’s vision to become a major provider of agri-aqua products in the region.

He said the facilities were constructed in joint partnership with the Australian government through the Philippines-Australia Local Sustainability (PALS) program which allocated P5.56 million for the project.

The Misamis Occidental provincial government put up a P2.44 million counterpart fund for the project.

The MOAP -- through its famous Dolphin Island, the hatcheries, a resort and the mangrove forest -- is now the major Eco-Tourism Project of this province.

The President also visited the Dolphin Island some five minutes by banca from Sinicaban, where she led the release of two rescued dolphins.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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