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Where are the irrigations systems?
26 August, 1998  The Visayan Daily Star

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Irrigation Project
      I'd like to continue with our item yesterday with our palay farmers wanting to lease their rice land to ease the burden of their very serious crop failures.
       Good for people with capital. They can make money and with the expected income in rice prices, they can make more.
       But where does government come in?
       If it continues to go on its importing spree because of the alleged scams in rice importations, rice farming, like sugar, will surely fail and worse famine will follow.

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       Government keeps on repeating and repeating its program of irrigations. Nothing has happened up to now. Is there?
       Where are those much trumpeted irrigation system?
       I don't know until President Estrada leaves office in 2004, if Negros Occidental can put up even just one irrigation project the size of the Bago river irrigation system.
       We have always said, we have so many big rivers waiting to be tapped. But, no one taps them.

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       We're happy recently a rice scientist from the International Rice Research Institute in Los BaƱos came and in Bago said, to contain rice pests, the irrigation must be stopped for some 45 days to undertake repairs.
       And this will also eliminate rice pests. The heat of summer can kill plant pests. Continuous cropping does not eliminate the carriers of these rice diseases.
       We agree some greedy farmers will not agree but in the end, they'll be the ones to suffer.

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       The problem in the National Irrigation Administration is its inefficiency in its repairs.
       What many are afraid is with the new move of President Estrada for farmers to no longer pay their irrigation fees might create the wrong values.
       It's being reasoned out, NIA personnel might not be active and as helpful as before in helping farmers because "they are not paying anyway."
       If they were not very efficient when the farmers were paying, how can they be efficient now?
       Here's where many disagree with President Estrada's pro-poor stance. The President is just perpetuating our people's dole-out mentality.
       I would go for making people pay for what they get so that in return, they can demand the right quality of service.


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