REHABILITATED DAM. The rehabilitated Padada River System, the oldest national irrigation dam in Davao Region, was inaugurated and turned over to the Hagonoy municipal government in Davao del Sur on Thursday (March 2, 2023) by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA). It will serve around 3,512 hectares planted with rice and banana, benefiting 2,249 farmer-beneficiaries. (Photo courtesy of NIA-Davao Region)

DAVAO CITY – The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has inaugurated a rehabilitated irrigation system to Davao del Sur's town of Hagonoy to supply water to the rice fields of some 2,249 farmer-beneficiaries, an official said Friday.

NIA acting administrator Engr. Eddie Guillen led Thursday the inauguration of the PHP202 million revitalized Padada River System (RIS), the oldest national irrigation dam in the Davao region.

"It is fully operational and ready to fully serve the farmer-beneficiaries," Guillen said in a statement.

The dam’s repair began in Sept. 2021 and was completed on Jan. 16 this year.

Guillen said the RIS was made ready for automation, and more mitigating measures are set in place to ensure the integrity of its stability.

The dam will serve an area of 3,512 hectares planted with rice and banana.

Allan Abillion, president of the Padada RIS Federation of Irrigators Association, lauded NIA and the local government for the realization of the project.

He recalled that the dam was built in 1953 and became operational in 1956. Over the past several years, the dam has degraded, resulting in calls for its rehabilitation.

Between 2019 and 2020, extreme weather conditions and natural calamities further compromised the integrity of the main dam and other structures.

Two strong 6.3 and 6.9 magnitude quakes, heavy downpours, and decades of quarrying activities near the dam site also took their toll on the structure, leaving it severely damaged and in a critical state. (PNA)