SAN LUIS — Former Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan urged the national and local government to involve farmers in the planning for the construction of a proposed water impounding system in the Candaba swamp.
Pangilinan visited the municipality over the weekend to lead a medical mission which benefited around 500 residents.
He said the government must find a middle ground in solving Pampanga’s perennial flood problem without impacting other sectors.
Local officials said 200 hectares of the total 2,000 hectares of Candaba swamp will be occupied by the proposed water impounding facility.
The project is seen to affect some 9,000 farmers and threaten food security in the province.
“Kailangan nating hanapan ng gitna. Problema ang pagbabaha pero problema rin ang mga madidisplace natin na mga kababayan at apektado rin ang food security,” Pangilinan said.
He said the national government must engage in an extensive dialogue of the concerned local government units and farmers and residents who will be affected.
“Hindi maaaring gumawa ng mga hakbang na hindi naririnig ang mga apektadong sektor,” Pangilinan added.
The former senator said the proposed facility may become beneficial to the agricultural sector if planned and constructed properly.
He said the area may be used as an aquaculture site during the wet season and planted with crops during the dry season.
“Kung kukunsultahin ang komunidad, baka pwede na makakita ng solusyon na hindi totally ililipat ang mga magsasaka. Maaaring gamitin at pakinabangan pa itong impoundment area tuwing tag-init, at kapag tag-ulan, pwedeng gamitin sa aquaculture lalo na ang fish manure ay dagdag na pataba rin sa lupa para kapag pwede nang tamnan ulit, mas magiging maganda ang ani dahil may natural fertilizer na,” he said.