SAN JOSE, Tarlac -- Finally, a dream come true for the people of Tarlac, a dream which they have wished for more than 50 years to realize.
National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Administrator Ricardo Visaya yesterday said the Tarlac Balog-Balog Multi-Purpose (TBBMP) dam in Tarlac is set for groundbreaking on Tuesday by Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr., who will represent President Rodrigo Duterte.
First brought out as a “dream” by the late Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino in 1963, the TBBMP, touted as one of the country’s biggest local funded dams, will finally be completed within the term of Duterte.
The TBBMP, which is primarily located in this town, has a total project cost of P13.37 billion and is designed to irrigate more than 34,000 hectares of agricultural lands in Tarlac province which will produce 43.5 megawatts of electricity.
The “high rise dam” was about to be pushed through during the incumbency of the late President Corazon “Cory” Aquino but was shelved due to the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 which caused massive mudflows in many parts of Tarlac.
It was re-launched during the administration of former President Benigno Aquino III, but due to insufficient funds, only the irrigation canals and appertunant project components were funded in 2015.
“Though Tarlac province ranks second to Nueva Ecija in terms of rice production in Region 3, only 29% of its total 114,530 hectares of agricultural lands are irrigated compared to Nueva Ecija’s and Bulacan’s more than 70%, hence, we are correcting this inequity on irrigation infrastructure,” said Visaya.
Slated to be constructed by the Duterte administration is the main dam which has a budget allocation of P7.9 billion.
The dam construction, however, was awarded to the joint venture of the Quezon City-based ITP Construction and the Chinese firm Guangxi Hydro-Electric Construction Bureau Lmtd. for only P5.86 billion.
The mega dam, which has a storage capacity of 560 million cubic meters, is set to increase rice production within Tarlac by 177.5 percent from 126,480 metric tons to 350,980 metric tons which will support at least 23,000 farmers and the rice per capita consumption of the Tarlaqueños.
Once completed, the project will provide year-round irrigation to approximately 34,410 hectares of farmlands in the municipalities of Paniqui, Pura, Ramos, Victoria, Gerona, San Jose, La Paz, Capas, Concepcion, and Tarlac City.
The mega dam is 105.5 meters high with three cascading sections each at 25 meters in height and a crest length of 1.4 kilometers.
It has a storage capacity of 560 million cubic meters “which can mitigate flooding in low-lying areas and provide inland fish production within the affected families” and will occupy 28,076 hectares as watershed.