‘Convergence initiative’, NIA, 22 other gov’t agencies firm up project commitments, interventions

The National Irrigation Administration 6 (NIA 6) firmed up commitments and interventions for Indigenous Peoples (IPs) covered by the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II).

This, as provisions for a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was finalized with 22 government agencies involved with the JRMP II implementation.  Also agreed was the creation of an Inter-Agency Coordinating Council (IACC) in order to ensure that needs as identified are addressed and commitments delivered.

The agreement highlighted the Inter-Agency Coordination Meeting at NIA 6 attended by JRMP II officials and representatives of partner government agencies.

Guests in the coordination meeting included Capitol lawyer, Attorney Dennis Ventilacion, Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) Environmental Monitoring Team Leader Sang Hoon Lee, and Environmental Specialist, Ronald Muana. 

Dubbed as the “Inter-Agency Convergence Initiatives,” the MOA laid down responsibilities and obligations of the concerned government agencies.  The agreement primarily identified government projects and programs on infrastructure (hard project component), livelihood and basic social service (soft project components) of the JRMP II.

From establishments of hanging bridges, classrooms, health centers and tribal centers, project listing was firmed up in the agreement.

A priority project of President Benigno Aquino III, JRMP II is envisioned to provide Iloilo year-round irrigation water.  As such, some 31,840 hectares of agricultural land stand to benefit alongside the rehabilitation of 22,340 hectares.

Further still is the generation of about 6.6 Megawatts of hydroelectric power and supplement the water supply for domestic and industrial use.

“This is the ultimate deliverables of our convergence initiative,” said NIA 6 Regional Manager Gerardo Corsiga.  “Water, power and food…these are anchored on the JRMP II which will now push further economic growth of Iloilo.  We all have limited mandates but with this – our convergence initiative, we will be ready for our midterm and long-term responses.”

To note, the conduct of the second Cultural Community Assemblies in 16 barangays with IP presence established the need for extensive government response.  With NIA’s mandate limited, the need for an inter-agency convergence was firmed up.

The MOA covers the direct and indirect impact project areas particularly ancestral domain of the IPs here.  Thus the agreement forged between NIA 6 as lead project proponent, the regional offices of National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Also integral to the MOA is the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

Signatories also include regional directors of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Tourism (DOT).

Trainings are also in place for IP-beneficiaries, a commitment by Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).  Meantime, a major signatory is the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) responsible for the allocation and incorporation of projects for IP communities.

Other agencies involved in the MOA include the Department of Education (DepEd) , Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Labor and Employment  (DOLE), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department  of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Local Government Unit (LGU), National Housing Authority – Iloilo Project Office (NHA- IPO), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth), West Visayas State University – Calinog Campus (WVSU-Calinog), West Visayas State University – College of Agriculture and Forestry – Lambunao Campus (WVSU-CAF, Lambunao) and Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA). /JP (Steve Cordero, PRO C)