Today my wife and I have a chance to return to Kirivong once again to join with our Buddhist monks and all of you to inaugurate achievements in Phnom Jita Pij in the village of Wat Phnom, Kompeng commune, Kirivong district of Takeo province.
I would first of all like to express my thanks for the Great Lady Vej Hong as well as HE Sok An and Lok Jumteav, and other generous persons for giving me the honor to my wife and I to participate in the inauguration of these marvelous achievements.
HE Srei Ben, Governor of Takeo, has just made a report about the construction phases. Firstly there is this huge 13.5 meter Buddha statue standing on top of the mountain, which is a sculpture of lam rock, which he said it is the biggest statue of Buddha in Takeo province.
Secondly, there are two other statues – one of another Buddha and another of an abbot also made from limestone.
Thirdly, there is a 400 meter access road from the NR 2 through to the mountain and the 243 stairs. Fourthly there is a space for paying homage to parents, etc.
I have learned that here there is this solar energized lighting system and lightning protection system, whereas all achievements cost 495,000 US dollars.
They are the contributions from the Great Lady Vej Hong and families of Deputy Prime Minister HE Sok An and generous donations from Buddhist followers in and outside the country.
On behalf of the Royal Government, my wife and myself, I would like to express my pleasure in seeing that these achievements have been realized and if I am not mistaken, two aspects have come to being according to my view.
One is that the achievements have reflected gratitude for Buddhist religion and parents. Another is they will be national heritages for generations to come as the Great Lady Vej Hong already signed a paper providing the achievements to be placed under the management and control of the Ministry of Cultures.
I think perhaps in the future the area could be developed into an agro-tourism because we have a location and historic culture that is surrounded by agricultural activities. It is a nice scene here that some people are harvesting and some are in the process of taking care of their crops.
Kirivong district is not too far and has a good road access. We have a long story though to get the National Road 2 built. It was during the Japanese Prime Minister Kaizo Obuchi’s visit to Cambodia that he offered what is called “non-project grant” and I asked for his permission that the money was to be used in building the NR 2 from Takeo to the border with Vietnam.
So the money had been saved until the construction started in 2004. We also have a plan to build a NR 2 segment from Phnom Penh to Takeo.
Cambodia is making a move to seek registration of its heritages of historic cultural values as international appreciation. These heritages have been built by and left from our former Majesties over one thousand years or hundred of years at least.
We have prepared a plan which would register them one after the other, like in the case of Angkor Wat and Preah Vihear, whereas in the near future we will look into the possibility of registering Banteay Chhmar and others.
We have set up a National Heritage Committee (NHC) who will have to look into this matter.
Take for instance, the achievements in front of us today no one knows what would happen in one hundreds of years from now. In our country as of now we have so numerous heritages of cultural and historic values that are to be searched and accounted for.
Taking this opportune moment I would like to express my sincere appreciation and thanks to our people who have made their sacrifices and efforts in fighting against drought that has been caused by uneven downpour.
Drought has indeed affected some areas in parts of which are in Takeo province. However I have noticed that there has been active intervention of irrigation by water pump by CPP working groups.
Having discussed it with the provincial Governor Srei Ben, we have come to a conclusion that from now to the Pchum Ben Day (religious rite in which Cambodians offer food and utensils to the Buddhist monks, which they believe will pass them on to their ancestors) our people will be able to complete their rice transplanting.
Now that water has come, our seedling is either too young for being transplanted or too old to be doing so. What has been an impression about Takeo is the fact that our people have increased the dry season rice cultivation area from 20,000 hectares to 31, 759 hectares. It is indeed considered the success of Takeo province in the field of rice cultivation.
Takeo has always been in the lead in various important stages – land reform, when HE Pol Saroen was the Governor of the province, transference from floating rice cultivation to that of dry season rice, and from long term and medium term rice to short term rice. Takeo now is advancing into another stage of new intensive cultivation phase that people increase yield of rice through new growing technique and using less seeds.
Takeo has also been in the lead in terms of fish breeding and farming and as far as I have been informed there is also this technique and expertise to breed and farm lobsters. So this is going to make people live better and the province is going to be well known.. It is known to all that people in Takeo used to have rice shortage and there used to be high level of migration out of Takeo for other places in the country.
But after the liberation in 1979, Takeo has become a rice surplus province. When there was a rice shortage situation at the central level, Takeo stood out to be provider, especially for the army at the time we fought against the return of the Pol Pot’s genocide …◉