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Bulacan gov pushes for cloud seeding and continuous palay subsidy to benefit farmers
Thursday, 24 February 2011
CITY OF MALOLOS – Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado advised officials of Angat-Hydro Electric Power Plant and National Power Corporation (NPC) to conduct cloud seeding operations as the Provincial Government braces for the onslaught of El Niño.

At the same time, Alvarado also appealed to the Department of Agriculture (DA) to continue to subsidize palay seedlings to Bulakenyo farmers.

Due to the threat brought about by the continuous dropping of the water level in Angat Dam, where it reaches 199.74 meters last Tuesday, Alvarado said that cloud seeding interventions is the alternative solution to a long dry season that the province is experiencing at present.

In his letters addressed to Engr. Rodolfo German, plant manager of Angat-Hydro Electric Power Plant and Froilan Tampinco, president and CEO of the NPC he said that rain seeding at this time is very important, if and when the rainy season will come again late, to avert the recurrence of situation wherein the water level in Angat dam reaches the critical level of 157 meters.

“It is the farmers in the entire province who will greatly suffer at the end. My unsolicited advice is that if we must cloud seed, the right time is now when there are still clouds hanging in the sky and the resulting artificial rains will easily fill-up the diminishing water supply stocked in our reservoirs without posing danger of inundation due to overflowing to immediate environs and low lying communities in Bulacan,” Alvarado said.

Also, he brought to the attention of the Department of Agriculture’s Secretary Proceso Alcala the apprehensions of the Bulakenyo farmers regarding its recent pronouncement that it will cut the subsidy on palay seedlings this year and probably, every year after.

“They (farmers) have enough reason to worry especially when we take into account the unprecedented magnitude of recent crop failures brought about by successive climate change-induced calamities last year which badly affected their livelihood and expected income and wrought havoc upon the national and local economies,” Alvarado said.
The governor also said that what the farmers need is easy-to-avail credit facilities and input subsidies from the national government and not vice versa.

“The farmers of Bulacan (and some towns in Pampanga) have already been denied their statutory right to the competing use of water resources from the Angat and Ipo Dams as enormous volumes of water intended for irrigation are being diverted every now and then to supply Metro Manila with additional potable water,” added Alvarado.

He also said that Bulacan farmers feel that they are always losing end of governmental policies and decisions since they who feed the entire nation are made to bear the brunt of the sacrifices that must be extracted from the people to make up for the scarcity of our dwindling natural and financial resources even at the expense of the hungry mouths of their very own families.

“It is high time to address the concerns of farmers and respond favorably to their legitimate grievances with genuine sincerity. It is our sworn duty to provide them with whatever material assistance we can muster from the national coffer,” the governor said, adding that palay seedling subsidy will not be too much to ask from an administration that was installed in office amidst high expectations from the poor and disadvantaged sectors of society like the farmers of Bulacan and other regions, who are not as rich and self-reliant as their counterparts in other countries. ###

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