By ALI G. MACABALANG
TARAKA, Lanao del Sur – “This poor town beside the vast Lake Lanao will soon build six solar-powered irrigation projects for its rice farmers and a huge potable water system for its residents,” Minadanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chairman Manny Piñol announced.
The projects will be funded with a P218-M development loan granted by the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) under the MinDA Water Supply Program, Piñol said in a statement.
The loan agreement was signed on June 30 in a ceremony organized by the Local Government unit (LGU) of Taraka in the presence of DBP representatives headed by Ms. Angelita T. Aguhob, Piñol and MinDA technical team, and Taraka local officials headed by Mayor Nashiba Gandamra Sumagayan and her husband Vice Mayor Amenodin U. Sumagayan.
“Part of the loan will be used to buy infrastructure equipment to build road networks in the town,” he said, even as he lauded the Taraka officials led by Mayor Nashida Gandamra-Sumagayan for their persistence in bidding to difference in local governance.
Taraka, which has been selected as the model town for rural development by MinDA, is one of the oldest towns of Lanao del Sur with a very high poverty level, according to the MinDA chief.
Its residents depend on the Taraka River for their household water needs while its rice fields estimated at 2,000 hectares could only harvest once a year because of the absence of an irrigation system.
During the launching of the MinDAWater Program on Dec. 6 last year in Davao City, Mayor Sumagayan sought the assistance of MinDA in availing of the loan program.
MinDA Water aims to assist local government units in Mindanao with sources of water for irrigation and household use through a self-reliance program.
MinDA will assist Taraka in establishing a model farm where farmers could learn new technology like goat raising, chicken and egg production and duck raising.
Taraka will also be aided by MinDA in establishing and organizing its Economic Enterprise Office which will operate and manage the Solar Irrigation and Potable Water Systems.
The lady mayor and the vice mayor expressed their gratitude and full commitment in the implementation of the project to provide the ‘i-Tarakaans’ (People of Taraka) a chance to have a better life especially the most vulnerable sectors of the community.
Likewise, Piñol and Aguhob conveyed their willingness to assist the LGU in materializing its longtime vision.
Piñol and his technical team first visited this town early this year to gain actual glimpse of the locality’s water requirements, and brief the host official on the remedial steps accruing from the MinDA Water Works Program.
The lady mayor accompanied by her husband, a former three-term mayor and former assemblyman of the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and subordinates reciprocated the visit last March, setting foot in Mlang, North Cotabato, Sec. Piñol’s hometown, to observe the basic operations of solar-based irrigation and water works systems existing in the area. (PMT)