Prior to the religious ceremony of Phchum Ben (in which people offered utensils and food to monks in the belief that their ancestors would benefit from their doing so) Samdech Hun Sen made an impromptu visit to the commune of Kraol Kuo, district of Svay Chrum and Svay Rieng province, and talk to the people about efforts made at all levels of the local and governmental authorities, especially the CPP work team, in providing whatever possible assistance to the people to cope with drought and late rain difficulties.
… Well it is my pleasure indeed to return to Svay Rieng once again today to share our people’s hardships in the province. I used to mention that while developing the western side, we would not neglect the eastern either. While efforts are being made for the changing of agricultural pattern in the western province of Kompong Speu, today I am here in the eastern province of Svay Rieng to observe efforts made in resolving water need for irrigation. Maybe I should seek our people’s forgiveness and understanding for making such an impromptu visit. It was scheduled before to come down here, but because we have the religious rite Phchum Ben to celebrate today and tomorrow. I have decided to come at a short notice in order not to take our government officials away from their family and religious schedules, and to save energy as well.
… I am very happy that after my order for intervention to assist our people in the province of Svay Rieng, I was told by General Choeun Sovantha that his intervention force came all the way from Kompong Cham to Oreang Ov already, while those of the bodyguard unit also was set to depart from Phnom Penh. We have here ten groups of intervention forces — those of my bodyguard unit, the ministry of water resources and meteorology, the region II forces, the brigade 70, the national police, provincial military forces, the military police, the provincial police, etc. – coming to help our people in this province. We have yet to count in also efforts provided by HE members of parliament and those of the CPP working groups.
… The efforts have pushed forward the people’s efforts in cultivating rice from 14% of the cultivated area when I first came here to about 60% as of the moment I am speaking. Some people said they have been satisfied with the efforts to provide help though they may not be sure whether the yield this year would be good or not. As of now the national movement for the betterment of irrigation infrastructure has gradually taken shape. I have declared the national irrigation policy that individuals, companies, private and state, must take part in a form of national movement for the sake of improving water accessibility. What impressed me the most was that the local investor Oknha Sok Kong offered a sum of 25 million dollars for the renovation or building anew 16 kilometers of irrigation canal from Kompong Trabek.
… Actual implementation of development projects in the field is the most impressive example in showing our efforts to combat against poverty. One cannot just talk about ways to reduce poverty through so and so democratic process, so and so human rights means, as poverty would never be flying away itself. I doubt it how one could talk about human rights while neglecting the people’s rights to have food, to have school for education – because without it no one could be literate to write opinions in opposition papers. Poverty could be eradicated only by taking action. Some notice that we have become poorer and poorer, I would suggest all of us to rethink together what did we have in 1979 and what do we have in 2005. If we have gone from cities with cars, motorbikes, etc. to bare foot people, then I would accept that we have become poorer, but it is on the contrary.
… We have started digging water canals in three different places namely Ok Ambok I using Oknha Sok Kong’s contribution, Ok Ambok II using the state budget, and the Ok Ambok III which is in the making. Our objective is to take water from here to the lake of Chhouk, Kok Pring from Kraol Kuo. We will have two canals taking water to the river of Vaiko. With regard to naming, I would like to suggest the three canals that run in between the province of Prey Veng and the province of Svay Rieng to take a new common name of “Kon Phluos or twin canal.” As for those of you where canal runs through your land, and in fact you have already approved the building of canal through your land to the head monk here, I would affirm a compensation for those land according to the standard applied in the western part of the country of two tons of milled rice per hectare.
… Rice to be offered in compensation for the construction of canal on those land will have to be bought from local dealers rather than taking from the city, which would cost higher. Let me reaffirm my order that no matter how much it would cost we have to connect the canal to the lake of Chhouk and through the next dry season we will connect it to the river of Vaiko. This would allow us to run water from Kompong Trabek to the river of Vaiko, which resulted in having two water sources. In rainy season we have flood regime that allows us to feed water into the canal, but in the dry season we have to provide pumping machine to keep the canal water-flowed from Vaiko and Kompong Trabek for dry season rice cultivation.
… I have provided once 50,000 liters of diesel for irrigation purpose, and it was not funded by state budget but from generous people who have provided through me. Today I offer to the province of Svay Rieng another 50,000 liters of diesel and HE Governor Cheang Am has the obligation to manage it with efforts to save rice affected by drought in the province. I also set aside a sum of ten 10,000 liters of diesel, provided to me by the Bunnary-Chheang Thong Export-Import Company, for HE Governor Ung Samy of Prey Veng, and I wish to say that this year Prey Veng would definitely be harvesting good dry season rice yield. My wish is that where there have been water systems our people will cultivate whatever crops so as to improve their economic viability.
In that occasion Samdech Hun Sen offered a school building of six classrooms to the village of Russei Chuoir khang Choeung, a school building of six classrooms to the college of Angkorsar of the district of Mesaang of Prey Veng, two millions Riel for the pagodas of Boeung Rai, Chhouk Meas and Kraol Kor, etc. for the sake of hosting the religious rite of Phchum Ben.