(File photo)

MANILA – House Deputy Majority Leader David Suarez on Friday called on the government to come up with a comprehensive program on the proper and cost-effective use of water systems to address the perennial problem of water shortage for farmlands and subsequently ensure a more efficient national food security program.

Suarez, vice chairperson of the House Committee on Agriculture, said the creation of a “National Water Use Plan” will provide farmers with an accessible water supply to improve their productivity and boost their incomes.

"Kailangan ng ating mga magsasaka ang mabisang plano na magsisiguro ng maayos at tuloy-tuloy na supply ng tubig at irigasyon sa kanilang mga sakahan. Mahalagang mabuo agad ng pamahalaan ang National Water Use Plan nang sa ganun ay maging mas kampante ang ating mga magsasaka (Our farmers need an effective plan that will ensure stable supply of water and irrigation for their farms. It is important for the government to immediately craft the National Water Use Plan so that our famers will be at ease)," Suarez said in a statement.

Based on data gathered from National Irrigation Administration (NIA), around 36 percent of the 3,128,631 hectares total irrigable areas have no reliable irrigation system.

Kailangan muna nating resolbahin ang ugat ng problemang ito. Dito papasok ang pagkakaroon ng isang National Water Use Plan na siyang sagot sa kakulangan ng tubig sa ating mga palayan (We need to resolve this problem. Here enters a National Water Use Plan that will resolve the scarcity of water in our rice fields)," he said.

"To attain food security in the country, it is important to include in the implementation of the ‘farm-to-market road’ (FMR) plan, the national water use plan. This will ensure we optimize our natural resources towards sustainability and security,” he added.

The comprehensive water program, the Quezon lawmaker said, would complement the national FMR masterplan, which President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has asked agriculture officials and experts to create at the soonest possible time.

The FMR master plan, which is envisioned to promote food security and empower rural communities, will include regional maps detailing the exact locations of farm-to-market roads to be constructed.

Suarez and his wife, ALONA party-list Representative Anna Suarez, recently joined officials from the Department of Agriculture (DA)-Regional Field Office 4-A in the caravan distribution of DA interventions and Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund-Rice Farmers Financial Assistance (RCEF-RFFA) to farmers’ groups in the towns of Sariaya, Candelaria, Tiaong, San Antonio, Dolores, and Lucena City. (PNA)