Broadcast journalist Jiggy Manicad, who is running for a Senate seat in the May 13 elections, is calling on the Duterte administration to build more water impounding facilities for the agriculture sector amid a looming water crisis.
Manicad noted that existing small water impounding facilities have been boosting agricultural yield and helping farmers cope with the dry season.
“Kailangan natin ng ganitong mga pasilidad. Ito ang maaari nating sagot sa El Niño lalo na’t marami sa ating mga sakahan ay kulang pa ng mga patubig,” Manicad said at the sidelines of his campaign in Antique on Tuesday.
“Sinasabi rin sa atin ng mga eksperto na maaaring mas madalas at mas matindi ang mararanasan nating mga tagtuyot, kaya’t ‘wag lang natin tingnan yung El Niño ngayong taon. Paghandaan na natin yung next year, next two years, next five years,” he added.
Manicad noted that in Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya, a Small Water Impounding Project have been helping farmers increase their yield.
He said the SWIP in Bambang is just around three hectares but supplies water to at least 100 hectares of farmland.
“Bakit hindi natin ito gawin sa mga lugar na palaging naaapektuhan ng tagtuyot? Ang mga small water impounding facilities ay makakatulong din sa atin para sa mas efficient na pagkalap ng rainwater,” said the veteran journalist.
“Tutulong din ito para hindi mabaha ang mga low-lying na lugar at para hindi masira ang ating mga pananim sakaling malakas ang buhos ng ulan,” added Manicad.
With the small water impounding facilities, he said, farmers could triple rice cropping, resulting in continuous harvest of vegetables.
In the long term, Manicad also noted that irrigation facilities in the country must utilize modern technologies such as solar power.
In his bid for a Senate seat, Manicad earlier said that he chose to concentrate on agriculture as one of his platforms because of its “massive impact” to millions of Filipinos who earn their livelihood from farming, fishing, and other industries.
“In my two decades as a reporter on the field, it’s clear that majority of Filipinos from Luzon to Mindanao continue to rely on agriculture. We earn from it. We eat because of it. We form communities because of it. Bakit hindi natin tuloy-tuloy na buhusan ng pondo at mga mabubuting polisiya ang agrikultura kung napakalaki ng magandang madudulot nito sa mga Pilipino?” he said.