La Trinidad-Benguet – Recognizing the significance of watersheds in sustaining irrigation water, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) kicked off its 56th founding anniversary this month through a synchronized tree planting in various sites all over the country on June 14, 2019.
In the Cordillera Administrative Region, employees of the offices of NIA in the six provinces including the project office in Alfonso Lista Pump Irrigation Project in Ifugao planted a total of more than 5,000 fruit and forest trees.
Planting sites in the region were mostly part of the critical watersheds identified by the DENR-list and water sources of the national and communal irrigation systems.
The tree planting was conducted in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources which provided the seedlings through its CENROs. Other seedlings planted were grown in NIA nurseries while other seedlings were procured from local nurseries.
“We hope the trees we have planted will all mature as these will be of help in saving the watersheds and communal forests in CAR which are the source of water in irrigation systems, not only in the region but also in the nearby regions,” said Engr. Benito T. Espique, Jr., regional manager of NIA-CAR, who lead the regional staff in the planting pine trees at Apalan Watershed in Brgy. Loakan, Itogon, Benguet.
Espique added that the NIA-CAR will conduct another tree planting activity this year to augment the seedlings planted.
Meanwhile, the Apayao Irrigation Management Office was joined by NIA Senior Deputy Administrator BGen Abraham Bagasin, (Ret), the second top official of NIA, in planting trees at the watershed of the Marimay Small Reservoir Irrigation Project (SRIP) in Brgy. Marimay in Mallig, Flora, Apayao. The Marimay SRIP is one of the big-ticket projects of NIA-CAR which aims to irrigate about 1,300 hectares of rainfed area in Apayao.
Other planting areas include Mt. Sidir, Brgy. Nagaparan in Danglas, Abra; Lamut Eco-park, Brgy. Sanafe in Lamut, Ifugao; Brgy. Poblacion in Sadanga, Mountain Province; Brgy. Poblacion East in Flora, Apayao; and three planting sites (Balani, Bulo National High School, Mabalbalanay, Agbannawag) in Tabuk City, Kalinga, and Lubong, Brgy. Sto. Domingo in Alfonso Lista, Ifugao. NIAns were joined by some members of the Irrigators’ Associations, and other organizations.
This NIA Synchronized Tree Planting is a nationwide activity by all NIA regional offices and has been part of its anniversary celebration in June since 2012.
By Mylene I. Malecdan