By MASIDING NOOR YAHYA
MARAWI CITY: The municipality of Taraka in Lanao del Sur province has obtained a P100 million loan facility from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) to set up six solar-powered irrigation systems and a potable water supply system, Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol, chair of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), announced on Monday.
Taraka becomes the first town in Mindanao to enrol in the Mindanao Water Program, a joint project of Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), the Department of interior and Local Government (DILG) and DBP.
The town of Taraka “takes a bold step to reduce poverty among its people as it avails (of the) loan facility,” said Piñol in a statement.
Taraka was identified earlier by the agency as the development center of the province.
The Mindanao Water Program, conceptualized and initiated by MinDA, aims to provide water to every village in Mindanao through the solar-powered system or conventional irrigation system both for drinking and agriculture.
The agency said the loan documents are set to be signed in the town on March 21 as it will make the town the first local government unit in Mindanao to enroll in the Mindanao Water Program which was launched last year.
Piñol said under the program, the local government unit will be able to establish an economic enterprise, through the projects, “where fees are collected from beneficiaries to pay off the loans.”
“In the case of Taraka, the six solar-powered irrigation systems are intended to improve and increase the rice production of Taraka’s farmers whose farms are dependent on rainwater,” he said, pointing out that with the systems, farmers will be able to plant twice a year from once a year at present.
This would mean they would be able quadruple their annual production from three metric tons a hectare a year.
The solar-powered water system, on the other hand, is “designed to provide drinking water for the town’s 25,000 residents who have relied on the Taraka River for their water needs for generations,” the agency added.
With the solar-irrigation systems, farmers hope to plant twice a year at least and increase their yield from 3-metric tons once a year to 6 metric tons per harvest per hectare or 12 metric tons in one year.
The Solar-Powered Water System is also designed to provide drinking water for the town’s 25,000 residents who have relied on the Taraka river for their water needs for generations.
Just like the Solar-Powered Irrigation Systems, the Solar-Powered Potable Water Supply System will be part of the Economic Enterprise Program of the town.
DBP President Emmanuel Herbosa has committed that the bank will consider a socialized interest rate for the loan to support President Rody Duterte’s program to reduce poverty, improve productivity and promote peace in Mindanao.