P41M irrigation projects suspended due to security threats


Virac, Catanduanes – A total of P41 Million worth of Communal Irrigation Projects (CIP) in the province were ordered suspended by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) due to security reason.

Information from the NIA regional office in Naga City showed that the implementation of these projects started simultaneously last July 12, 2014 and was suspended since March 9 this year by the agency citing “peace and order” as the reason for the deferment of the projects.

From among the suspended projects, three are from the municipality of San Miguel and one each from the municipalities of Panganiban, Bato, and Baras.The NIA identified the projects as Buhi CIP (San Miguel) with an approved Program of Works (POW) of P4.32 Million; Burabod CIP(Panganiban) – P5.4 Million; Katipunan CIP (San Miguel) – P5.4 Million; Obo-Mosbos CIP (San Miguel) – P14.04 Million; Baniaga CIP (Bato) – P8.64 Million; and Tilod Sta. Maria CIP (Baras) with a P3.4 Million approved POW.Two of the suspended projects were almost completed with Burabod CIP reporting a 95 per cent accomplishment; Katipunan CIP with 92.5 per cent accomplishment; Tilod Sta. Maria CIP with 70.13 per cent; Baniaga CIP with 57.12 per cent; Buhi CIP with 50.5 per cent; and Obo-Mosbos with 40.1 per cent accomplishment.

Engr. Edmundo T. Villaluz, officer-in-charge of NIA in the province, confirmed the suspension, in an interview, after a contractor allegedly requested to them the deferment of the project implementation. According to Villaluz, CPR Construction, which is based in Polangui, Albay, made the request after receiving “harassments” from a local group believed to be insurgents.

Villaluz added that the contractor earlier complained of a “burning incident” in its Burabod CIP project in Panganiban wherein a concrete mixer was allegedly burned after they failed to heed the demand of the group. Workers at the projects received harassment from the group which prompted them to abandon their work at the project.

This incident allegedly prompted Villaluz to recommend to its regional office in Naga City the suspension of the projects on March 23, 2015.Meanwhile, Governor Araceli B. Wong expressed alarm with the suspension and assured to look on the matter. Wong said she is just waiting for the visit of NIA Bicol Regional Manager – Engr. Vicente R. Vicmudo to explain to her what happened.