Farmers wonder why sacks of soil were used as foundation for this P4.2 million irrigation project. (Photo by VBP)

Farmers question ‘substandard’ 2nd District irrigation system

Tacloban City – The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) here said that it will check on allegations that a P4.5 million communal irrigation system repair project in Sogod, Carigara may have been implemented using substandard materials.

‘The 827 meter irrigation system in Sogod, Carigara town is part of restoration, rehabilitation and repair works being done on an existing irrigation system’, said NIA Irrigation Management Office head Engr. Gloria Sevilla.

Carigara News
Cracks appear on the cement flooring of the new irrigation project. (Photo by VBP)

Some farmers in the affected areas were asking why bags of soil were used as foundation for the new civil works instead of durable or erosion resistant materials such as gravel, boulders, and cement as used in previous constructions by the NIA of a similar project.

The farmers also pointed out that only few and very small steel bars spaced in between were holding the civil works together so that cracks could already be observed on the irrigation canal’s flooring as early as December 2015.

‘We really doubt that this kind of construction can weather the test of time since water will eventually flow on it’, said Lyndee a farmer residing in Barugohay Sur.

The Sogod, Carigara construction is part of over P15 million worth of funds allocated for the repair through NIA of communal irrigation systems in the 2nd Congressional District of Leyte with similar works for the towns of Capoocan and Dagami.

NIA insiders revealed that the contract for the irrigation repair in Carigara was being implemented by GES Construction, a firm owned by a politician with alleged close ties to 2nd District Congressman Sergio Apostol.

NIA officials however could not confirm whether the assailed construction is a pet project of Apostol, although they acknowledge that funds for these projects are usually allocated with the encouragement of lawmakers.

Carigara News
An example of a communal irrigation system built years ago by NIA along the same area where the assailed new irrigation system is being constructed. (Photo by VBP)