Monday, 15 June 2009

Gov't implements 27 priority infra projects for North Luzon Agribusiness Quadrangle

MANILA (PNA) - The government is implementing 27 priority infrastructure projects for the North Luzon Agribusiness Quadrangle (NLAQ), of which six have already been completed and 21 others are being built in line with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s goal of sharpening the competitiveness of this super region, according to Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap.

In a report to President Arroyo, Yap, who is the Development Champion of NLAQ, said these initiatives, 24 are major infrastructure projects and three are smaller but equally important ones such as farm-to-market roads, small irrigation facilities and upgrading of government hospitals.

“Six of these NLAQ projects are already completed and five of the ongoing projects are even ahead of schedule,” Yap said.

The six completed priority projects for NLAQ, Yap said, are the following: Casecnan Multipurpose Irrigation and Power Project (CMIPP), San Fernando Airport Development Project, 33 MW Bangui Bay Wind Power Project (Phase II), La Trinidad Minimal Processing Plant, Tramlines (Benguet and Mt. Province) and Dingalan Port Development Project.

Yap said the Casecnan project, which was completed last December, covers 26,920 hectares of new generated areas that will benefit 29,480 farmers, while the rehabilitated facilities will service 55,100 hectares with 33,810 direct farmer-beneficiaries.

The project has created 96,153 jobs, with an additional 167,904 metric tons (MT) of palay production expected from the newly irrigated areas, Yap said.

He said the San Fernando Airport Development project was completed last Jan. 31 and was inaugurated last March 16, while the Dingalan Port Development Project in Dingalan, Aurora worth a total of P96.78 million, was fully completed in January 2008.

The Bangui Wind Power Project, which began full operations in August 2008, supplies about 8 percent to 20 percent of the total power requirements of the Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative (INEC), and is the first and biggest wind power project ever built in Southeast Asia, Yap said.

Completed in September 2007, the La Trinidad Minimal Processing Plant was turned over to the local government of La Trinidad in Benguet in March last year, Yap said.

The project helps farmers process about five tons of vegetables per day or two to three tons of meat products per day, he added.

A total of 10 tramlines were also built in NLAQ, of which seven are in Benguet and three in Mt. Province, said Yap.

These post-harvest facilities, which have been operational since June last year, help farmers save up to 75 percent in porterage fees, he said, and have significantly reduced the travel time for transporting goods in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and its neighboring provinces.

The NLAQ projects that are being implemented ahead of schedule are the development of the airports in Itbayat, Basco, Casiguran and Bagabag; and the Agno River Integrated Irrigation Project, Yap bared.

Projects that are on schedule are the North Luzon Wind Power Project; Bontoc-Tabuk Tuguegarao Road; Halsema Highway, Buguias Pre-Cooling and Processing Plant; Alaminos Airport; Northern Cagayan Airport; construction of farm-to-market roads, small irrigation projects and the upgrading and rehabilitation of government hospitals; Baler-Casiguran Road and Balintingon Reservoir Multi-purpose Irrigation Project.

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