Â Foreign funding might facilitate the implementation of three major infrastructures in Bohol that will sustain the agricultural image of the province.
Third District Rep. Arthur Yap, chairperson of the Economic Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, said this during the Bohol Provincial Consultation on Central Visayas Regional Development Plan on Friday at the Bohol Tropics.
Yap said he is facilitating for the inclusion of three proposed projects for foreign funding- -Malinao Dam Upgrading, Cebu to Bohol Friendship Bridge and Bohol Northeast Basin Multipupose Dam Development Project.
China is a possible source of foreign funding, especially that President Rodrigo Duterte is travelling to China again in May.
The Bohol Northeast Basin Multipurpose Dam Project involves the construction of two multipurpose storage dams; five diversion dams; transbasin tunnel; hydro-power plant; irrigation and drainage facilities.
Other components of the project include institutional development and watershed management.
Its potential coverage area is set at 12,500 hectares, and the source of water is the Wahig River.
It was also reported during the NEDA-organized workshop that the feasibility study of the project will be completed in early 2018.
It will serve the municipalities of Danao, San Miguel, Trinidad, Dagohoy, Bien Unido, and Ubay
The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) will be the lead implementing agency.
The Cebu-Bohol Friendship Bridge is eyed to connect the two island provinces from the Cordova point in Cebu and Getafe point in Bohol side.
It will cross over the Olango Island Group.
On the other hand,Â upgrading the Malinao Dam in PilarÂ would double the water storage capacity of the dam from 5 million cubic meters to 10 million cubic meters which could irrigate an additional 2,730 hectares of riceland in northeast Bohol.
Â From its present 5.99 million cubic meters- -5 million cubic meters from its active reservoir and 0.99 million cubic meters from its dead reservoir, to a total of 9.1 million cubic meters- -8.11 from the active and 0.99 from the dead reservoir.
The improvement will make Malinao Dam capable of reaching additional 920 hectares.
The feasibility study also showed that an upgraded Malinao Dam would be instrumental in increasing and stabilizing the farmerâ€™s income by 70 percent and in meeting the increasing food consumption demand in Bohol.
Bohol has existing irrigation systems under Bohol Irrigation Project (BHIP) phase I and II. Phase I covers the Malinao System finished in 1997 and Japanese grant-funded Capayas System in 1991, and phase II that covers the Bayongan System finished in 2008.
However, these could hardly provide sufficient irrigation water to Malinao Dam, because financial constraints and land disputes left some areas undeveloped, lack of irrigation facilities like farm ditch, and left leveling works in some areas unfinished.
On this, NIA and the past provincial administration had requested for BHIP phase III which will cover the upgrading of Malinao Dam.
Improvement of Malinao Dam is also expected to trigger a series of communal irrigation systems.
The NIA record showed that BHIP-I irrigates 4,960 hectares and BHIP II irrigates 5,400 hectares of ricefields in Pilar, Alicia, Ubay, Trinidad, San Miguel, and Dagohoy.
The proposed improvement includes a small hydro power plant at the outlet end of Malinao Dam and diversion chute between Malinao and Bayongan dams that would enhance the efficiency of water resource utilization.
This gives an opportunity to include the rehabilitation of Pamacsalan watershed as earlier proposed.
For his part, Yap said Bohol already got enough foundation for tourism- -the pristine environment, roads, and digital connectivity, among others.
Coupled with the agriculture, the economic boom might invite industrialization.
However, Yap said Bohol should shun heavy industrialization.
â€œFrom what I heard from Gov. Chatto, he wants to keep it as light industrial, protecting the ecology in Bohol, so that we sustain the pristine environment which is what attracts tourists,â€ Yap said.
Yap also took note of the proposal for a monorail system which will connect Panglao and Tagbilaran and will cater to the additional economic activities that the New Bohol Airport is expected to bring.
He thinks it would be interesting to the Chinese, and even Japanese investors.