By Filane Mikee Cervantes

Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez (Photo courtesy of Speaker’s office)

MANILA – Speaker Martin Romualdez on Wednesday said the government’s convergence efforts in flood control and effective water management would enable the Philippines to achieve rice self-sufficiency under President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s administration.

During his meeting with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Romualdez said the convergence program will integrate flood control projects into other structure needed for irrigation.

“This would lead us to, I believe, rice self-sufficiency due to higher productivity before the term of the President ends in 2028. That’s the target, that’s the goal, that’s our aspiration and I believe we’re on our way to that,” Romualdez said.

“Ibang klase talaga itong vision ng ating Presidente (Our President’s vision is truly one of a kind), through the integration of this vision by the administrator of the NIA, implemented efficiently with the expertise of the Public Works,” he added.

Aside from ensuring water for irrigation, the program is expected to likewise provide bulk water sources for drinking water, hydroelectric power, and aquaculture, “aside from saving the lives and properties of our people during floods triggered by monsoon rains or typhoons.”

Romualdez highlighted that the total budget allocated for flood control projects amounts to PHP349 billion in 2024, noting this is a significant opportunity to fund projects that serve multiple purposes.

He said the convergence program stands as a testament to the Marcos administration’s commitment to sustainable development and resource management, promising a brighter and more resilient future for all Filipinos.

He also underscored the collaborative nature of the initiative, stressing the need for consultation and consensus within the government.

“But of course, through your active participation, cooperation, and coordination, we can get the most bang for the buck. Talagang sulit na sulit ang pagkagamit ng pondo ng ating gobyerno (The use of government funds is prudent),” Romualdez said.

President Marcos has reiterated the importance of the integrated water resource masterplan and managing water resources amid El Niño and mitigating flood during La Niña.

The President directed the relevant agencies to further explore foreign funding for identified priority investment areas for both local and international stakeholders.

He also sought for continued development of NIA dams for multipurpose use to include agricultural irrigation, fresh water supply, power supply and flood control. (PNA)