News Release

PBBM inaugurates PH’s first, biggest ‘game-changer’ solar-powered pump irrigation project


President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. inaugurated on Monday the Cabaruan Solar-Powered Pump Irrigation Project (SPIP), one of the country’s first and biggest solar-powered pump irrigation project to address rising challenges of energy costs in diverting water supply to farmlands.

The Cabaruan SPIP, which is the biggest solar-powered pump irrigation project in the Philippines is expected to irrigate 350 hectares of rice field, benefitting almost 237 palay farmers.

In his speech during the inauguration of the Cabaruan SPIP in Quirino, Isabela, President Marcos said the SPIP is only one of the many projects of the government that aims to boost the agricultural sector in the Philippines, which is greatly affected by natural phenomenon in the country.

“Kung dati-rati ay gumagamit tayo ng mga makinang pinatatakbo ng langis upang dumaloy ang tubig mula sa irrigation canal patungo sa inyong mga taniman, ngayon ay pinagagaan na natin ito gamit ang kuryente galing na galing sa araw. Libre na kuryente na galing sa araw kaya’t maaari nating ibigay ang libre na patubig,” President Marcos said.

“Napakalaki [pa] ng naging katipiran natin dito dahil, bukod sa libre na ang [pagkukunan] ng kuryente, inilagay mismo sa taas ng irrigation canal ang ating solar panels, kaya hindi na po mababawasan ang lupang tinataniman ng ating mga magsasaka,” he added.

President Marcos added the government wants to ensure that the Philippines will be self-sufficient in terms of agricultural products, and to avoid a similar incident where the country was confronted by various challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Kaya po, mula noong ako’y umupo, ito ngang sabi ko, dapat natin ayusin ang sektor ng agrikultura at alam naman po natin lahat na ang pinakamahalagang bahagi para pagandahin ang ani ng ating mga mannalon, ating mga magsasaka ay ang patubig,” President Marcos said.

The President said agriculture is the priority sector of his administration.

“Mabuti na lang … mayroon na tayong bagong teknolohiya, itong solar. Dahil kung maalala ninyo, ‘yung ginagamit natin, mga pump, mga diesel, mahal ang krudo at mahal ang maintenance at saka maliit ‘yung mga bomba natin dati. Kaya’t ito ay napakalaking bagay,” President Marcos stressed.

The SPIP allows farmer-beneficiaries to decrease their electricity, or fuel expenses by minimizing the use of electric or fuel-powered pumps, and increase agricultural production with the ample supply of water coming from it.

The Cabaruan SPIP is a project of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) under the Mangat River Integrated Irrigation System (MARIIS). It was constructed from July 6, 2023 to February 2024 with a total project cost of PhP65.77 million.

It is the first SPIP in the country to be constructed over an irrigation canal, which relieved farmers from donating a portion of their property. It is also the biggest SPIP nationwide in terms of the number of solar panels at 1,056.

The system can produce 739,200 watts of power for its two submersible pumps, with each pump capable of discharging 12,800 gallons per minute.

This is in addition to NIA’s mass acceptance of 15 solar-powered pump irrigation projects and two small irrigation projects in the region.

Those projects could irrigate 251 hectares of farm lands and could benefit 867 farmers, said the President, adding these are part of 62 solar-powered pump irrigation projects put up in the Cagayan Valley region.

According to the President, 152 solar-powered pump irrigation projects are also being constructed, with 118 projects to be put up by the government. So far, 82 solar-powered pump irrigation projects were completed last year, he said vowing to increase that number in the coming years.

Isabela is the biggest corn producer and the second biggest contributor to palay production in the country. | PND