THE two major dams in Luzon, the 48-year-old Pantabangan Dam in Pantabangan Nueva Ecija and the 39-year-old Magat Dam in Ramon, Isabela, were undamaged by the July 27 Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake in Tayum, Abra, the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) said on Monday. This attests, it added, to the structural integrity of NIA dams which can stand 50 years and even beyond a half century.
In a press conference at NIA Convention Hall, Acting Administrator Benny D. Antiporda and Deputy Administrator for Engineering and Operations Sector C’zar M. Sulaik assured the public that the earthquake had no major damage to the dam structures/embankment, building facilities, roadway, canal structures, and electro-mechanical components.
Antiporda said the public does not need to worry about safety and irrigation service delivery because NIA has precautionary measures. “Wala pong damage ang ating dams [Our dams have no damage]. The Agency only wants to ensure the safety of the public, especially the communities located on downstream areas,” said Antiporda.
Even though the major dams were not affected by the earthquake, some communal irrigation projects of NIA incurred damage. Based on initial assessment of the Agency, a total of 27 irrigation projects covering about 3,167.50 hectares of agricultural land incurred damage amounting to P243.33 million. Twenty-six of these are located in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and one in Ilocos Region: the Banaoang Pump Irrigation System located in the Municipality of Bantay, Ilocos Sur which Antiporda was set to personally visit after the press conference.
Despite the earthquake, NIA assured the public of the unhampered delivery of irrigation service to the Filipino farmers in adherence to the food security program of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos, Jr.