Lingayen – Governor Amado I. Espino, III on February 10 led the seeding of about 300,000 tilapia fingerlings at the mouth of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) re-regulating pond in San Roque, San Manuel town.
Governor Espino, along with executives of NIA – Region 1 led by Engr. Frida Nidoy, San Roque Power Corp. vice president for corporate affairs Tom Valdez, Pangasinan Federation of Irrigators’ Associations (PFIA) president Oftociano Manalo and other leaders of the Agno River Irrigation System (ARIS) led the dispersal of fresh water tilapia fingerlings which were sourced out from the fish hatcheries of the provincial government and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
The fingerlings dispersal, which was launched during the administration of former Pangasinan governor and now 5th district Representative Amado T. Espino, Jr., is sustained by the present provincial administration to increase tilapia population for fish capture of marginalized fisherfolk in the lower streams of ARIS.
From 2007 – 2016, under the watch of the former governor, the provincial government was able to produce about 11 million tilapia fingerlings and dispersed 19 million fingerlings to 751 communal rivers in Pangasinan. The 9 million fingerlings were sourced from BFAR-Munoz.
Provincial Agriculturist OIC Dalisay Moya said that the massive dispersal program since 2007 have “relatively contributed to the increase of about 850 metric tons of harvested tilapia valued at P42.5 million.”
“Aside from the aggressive efforts undertaken by the provincial government for the protection and preservation of the rivers systems in the province, we also vow to sustain the enrichment of resources for the benefit of marginalized fisherfolk,” Governor Espino emphasized during the fish dispersal activity.
“Monitoring activities of the Task Force Kalikasan along our rivers will also be tightened to safeguard our natural resources from harm and degradation,” he added.
Governor Espino said that mass dispersal of tilapia fingerlings will also be conducted in central and western parts of the province.
Assuring all-out support to farmers in the province, Governor Espino said that the province has allocated Php15-M intended for the construction of irrigation projects and support facilities. A Php5-M supplemental budget will be lobbied to the provincial board for the same allocation.
It can be recalled that last week, the governor awarded shallow tube wells and farming aids worth P8 million to farmers associations in the province.
The Agno River Irrigation Project (ARIP) of NIA has already covered 11,202 hectares of planted/irrigated areas in Agno system (9,102 hectares) which include San Manuel, Asingan, Binalonan, Villasis, Urdaneta City, Laoac, Manaoag, Mangaldan, Mapandan, Sta. Barbara and Malasiqui); and Sinocalan system (2,100 hectares) covering Sta. Barbara, Calasiao, Mangaldan and Dagupan City.
Out of the 181,261 hectares total potential irrigable area, the NIA ARIP already renders irrigation services in 109,227 hectares.
NIA officials led a briefing on their irrigation projects right after the tilapia fingerlings dispersal.
/Mark Gerry Naval Oblanca