News/ Press Releases

NIA updates Hirinugyaw goers of Jalaur developments

CALINOG, Iloilo – For the third time since 2014, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has been visible and active in the celebration of the Hirinugyaw festival here.

This is the agency’s strategy to campaign for its center-piece project in Western Visayas which will be constructed in the town. The Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) is the biggest irrigation project in the Province of Iloilo and in the entire Western Visayas. It will construct the first large-scale reservoir dam in the region that will ensure year-round supply of water to 31, 840 hectares of farm lots in the province.

This year, JRMP II Information Education and Communication (IEC) team established an information kiosk to update festival goers and Calinog natives of recent project developments. Reading materials were distributed to kiosk visitors and audio-video materials were played in a TV monitor. Also, life-size project brochure and standees were in display inside the kiosk.

Festival goers coming from nearby towns and as far as Iloilo City, Calinog natives and project stakeholders ‘flocked’ to the information kiosk to avail of the reading materials distributed. Also the IEC team addressed several queries about the project.

 “Hirinugyaw” comes from the Hiligaynon term “hugyaw” or cheer while “Suiguidanon” is an oral tradition of the Panay-Bukidnon Indigenous Peoples (IPs) that resides in the mountains of central Panay. As a festival, the Hirinugyaw-Suguidanonay showcases the Calinognon’s devotion to the Child Jesus “Sr. Sto. Niño”. Devotees dance gracefully to the beats of the drums and tribal chants. Also, the two-day event was a promotion of the IPs’ unique rituals and traditions that are still kept and practiced in the hinterlands of the town.

Majority of JRMP II structures will be constructed in the IP community. As such mandatory consultations were conducted pursuant to Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA). A Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) was undertaken to secure the IPs’ consent for the project.

On August 11, 2015, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) issued NIA a Certification Pre-Condition (CP) to effect the consent granted by the IP community for project implementation.

NIA remains firm in its commitment to uphold the cultural pride of the IPs who will be affected by the JRMP II. /JP (Shimei Ramos, DC IV)

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IEC summer list: ‘must-see’ places this season

By Ramon C. Salvilla & Neridel Genilo

Beat the heat!

As summer has officially started, there are so many reasons why we should enjoy. The beach could be one of them or your favourite halo-halo, fruit shakes and summer grub. How about summer classes like ballet or voice lessons? The list goes on. But for someone who adores exploring places and hungers for a quick escape from the bustling city life, it’s time to get your backpacks ready and discover why summer is more fun in Western Visayas.

The region has so many wonders to offer and this is the perfect season to experience them all. Thalassophiles and beach bums, clad in their bikinis or board shorts, will surely love to plunge in pristine beaches of Western Visayas. Choices of beach resorts are simply endless but Guimaras, Northern Iloilo, Antique and the famed Boracay Island are top destinations. Spelunkers,trekkers, and campers will simply enjoy the captivating caves and majestic mountains of Iloilo, Antique and Capiz. Cycling enthusiasts would surely love to tug along their mountain bikes to a one-of-a-kind road trip and cross country trek in Guimaras, Iloilo and Antique. Inland resorts and leisure parks that mushroom just outside the metropolis are also good choices.

Like everyone else, your favourite IEC team has also their getaway destinations this summer. These are summed up in this article which can also guide you in your summer adventure this year.

Number one on our IEC list is Northern Iloilo’s island paradise – Isla Gigantes in Estancia town. Famous for its white sandbars and islets, Isla Gigantes is a delight for tourists who love the sea and enjoy island hopping without joining the flock who visits Boracay and Palawan.

The picturesque Antonia Island and the popular tangke or lagoon surrounded by rock formations that depict a huge water tank are a ‘must-see’. Also, the island is known for its rich aquaculture. Fresh crabs, fishes and other shellfishes harvested in its rich waters are a heaven for ‘foodies’. To get here from Iloilo City, simply take a bus or a van from Tagbak terminal to Estancia town. The travel usually takes up to an hour and a half. When you reach the port of Estancia, it only takes 45 minutes aboard a motorized bangka to reach this island paradise.

Another favourite summer destination in region six is the humble island-province of Guimaras – Home of the world’s sweetest mangoes. ‘Sandwiched’ by the islands of Panay and Negros, this island is a haven of unadulterated nature-inspired  adventure   making   it  at par with   othersummer  destinations in the country. Guimaras offers a complete summer package for families,friends or for those who wish to travel alone. With more than 20 beach resorts dotted all over the island-province selecting one that fits your taste is a good start.  Apart from swimming and sun bathing, island hopping, scuba diving, snorkeling or exploring the inlands and mingling with local folks are a ‘must-try’. If you wish to relax alone, simply grab a book and find a comforting spot along the beach or watch the magnificent sun slowly vanish in the horizon during sunset.

Top beach choices include Raymen Beach Resort, Alobijod Cove, La Puerta Al Azul, CleanWaters (Guisi) and Villa Igang in Nueva Valencia, Kelapa Ganding, El Retiro, and Abelardo’s in Buenavista, Cabaling, Natago,and Baras in Jordan, Inampulugan, Punta Punting, and Jesa Mar (Nauway) in Sibunag, and Vilches in San Lorenzo.

Of course while enjoying these beach resorts never forget to taste the island’s famed mangoes. From fresh fruits to bottles of jams and pickles, bags of dried mangoes, boxes of mango piyaya and muffins and even the delectable mango pizza you’re in for a mango-tasting adventure like you have never imagined before. To get to Guimaras simply take a 20-minute boat ride from Iloilo City, either through Ortiz wharf for those who are bound to Jordan, Nueva Valencia and Sibunag, or,  at Fort San Pedro for those who are going to Buenavista and San Lorenzo.

If the beach is too common for you, then you should try Bucari in Leon town - “Iloilo’s Little Baguio”. Surely there is no need for one to take a costly trip to Baguio or Tagaytay in Luzon just to escape the heat of the sun this season. Known for its cool climate and its lush forest and mountain, Bucari is a perfect destination for campers and trekkers.  Complementing its hiking trails are its cold spring and waterfalls that are simply a reward for every brave soul who dared to experience hiking in Bucari. The place is only a 2-hour drive from urban Iloilo.

Final destination in our list is something that won’t let you go farther from the city. Damires Hills in Barangay Damires, Janiuay is just less than an  hour drive from metro Iloilo but can offer you a wonderful time to commune with nature. On top of that, the resort offers lots of fun-filled activities like zip lining, ATV driving, biking, biking and trekking to name a few.  The resort has an infinity pool and kiddie pool, kids’ adventure park. It’s also a perfect place for company outings and team building activities. Accommodation facilities range from picnic huts, to cottages and villas.

Before spoiling yourself with the summer marvels of Western Visayas, make sure you are prepared to beat the heat.  Never forget to wear sun protection or sunblock and drink plenty of liquids. Of course never travel without your cameras and ’selfie’ sticks. Take plenty of photos, upload them in your social media accounts and share to the world your summer adventure this year. /JP  

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NIA, partners vow to deliver Jalaur commitments

ILOILO City – Twenty six partner agencies of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) here gathered on March 10 for the Inter-Agency Coordination meeting. The agencies were represented by their focal persons who confirmed their support and assured the delivery of their commitments for the inter-agency mechanism for Iloilo’s biggest irrigation project.

This multi-agency collaboration is NIA’s ‘game plan’ to address infrastructure, livelihood and social services requested by the Indigenous Peoples’ (IPs) community affected by the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage (JRMP II). Such mechanism is strengthened by the “Memorandum of Agreement on Inter-Agency Convergence for the Implementation of Infrastructure, Livelihoodv and Basic Social Services Component of the JRMP II”  forged by said agencies on June 23, 2015.

In the meeting, NIA Regional Manager Gerardo P. Corsiga highlighted the immense significance of the collaboration of these agencies. “We cannot do it alone so we need your help and support to make this dream project a reality,” he emphasized.

Also commitments were reviewed and an over-all timeline of implementation for 2016 interventions was established. Discussed too were the status of the allocated budgets for these interventions and consolidation of implementing guidelines per agency.

As to budget, Ma. Isabel Blancia of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) said that they already ensured the project of every agency for the convergence mechanism was included in the Regional Development Investment Program and the respective agency budget.

During the Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) undertaken for JRMP II, the affected IP communities have requested for infrastructure, livelihood and basic

social services from NIA. The demands are not the mandate of the agency given which is only limited to irrigation development. The IPs requested for road openings and repairs, construction of water system and school buildings, hanging bridges, ambulance and scholarships. They have also requested for various livelihood interventions. As of writing, there were agencies that already started the delivery of their commitments. 

For skills development, the Technical Education and  Skills Development Authority (TEDSA) has already kicked-off trainings for masonry, carpentry, welding and heavy equipment driving. Forty eight IP-beneficiaries have finished a National Certificate I for Shielded Metal Arc Welding,

20 others have completed training for masonry and another 20 for carpentry.

The Philippine Coconut Authority has also delivered 5,000 coconut seedlings out of its 20,000 commitment to the Barangays Toyungan, Agcalaga and Alibunan. Likewise the Department of Agriculture (DA) has started to disperse vegetable, corn and fruit seedlings.

Worthy to note too are the commitments delivered by the Iloilo Provincial Government under the strong leadership of Governor  Arthur D. Defensor Sr.,  PLGU constructed water systems in Barangays Supanga, Caratagan and Hilwan, and, the electrification of Barangay Cahigon. /JP (Ramon C. Salvilla, CDA-II)                                                                                                     

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Hardwork and success: The Story of Manong Oting 

By Ramon C. Salvilla and Flordalie L. Pagente

 

Gapasalamat gid ako sa NIA tungod sa akon pag obra napatapos ko akon kabataan (I am thankful to NIA for the employment because I was able to send my children to school),” are the exact words of gratitude used by 44-year old, Agustilo Celeste to describe how thankful he is to the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).

A father of nine, Agustilo or Manong Oting as he is fondly called by his co-workers, hails from barangay Marandig, Calinog – one of the eight indirectly affected barangay of Iloilo’s biggest irrigation project. He is among the 12 laborers hired by NIA as part of the Memorandum of Agreement inked by and between NIA and the IP community for the feasibility study of Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II). Manong Oting has been working as labourer of NIA for more than a year now.

“Bangud sang akon pag obra dire sa    Jalaur, napatapos ko akon bata sa college kag elementarya (With my employment in Jalaur, my children were able to finish college and elementary),” he explained.

A proud father, Manong Oting shared that her daughter earned a Bachelor of      Science in Secondary Education (BSED) from West Visayas State University (WVSU) Lambunao Campus last March 29, 2016. In addition to that her twin daughters have also finished their elementary education this year in Bingawan town where his family is based now.

Prior to his employment in NIA, Manong Oting worked in a sugarcane plantation in Bingawan, Iloilo. According to him, the 120 pesos he earned per day was not enough to provide his family three meals a day and send his children to school. They simply lived from their hands to their mouths.

“Ti di kaigo ang akon sweldo  kay nakaobra ko sa NIA gani kahit papano nakaturotibawas man kami dyutay . “It’s a good thing that I was able to work for NIA because somehow we were alleviated from extreme poverty”.

On top of her children’s education, Manong Oting also thanks NIA because through his employment, he now owns a house in Bingawan, Iloilo. They transferred there because of the proximity of this new place to the school. He did not even finish his elementary education, that’s why Manong

Oting works hard to give the needs of his family.

“ Gusto ko guid tana ang maayo para sa akon kabataan gani nagabaka baka guid ako para mapaeskwela sila kay ako wala guid may tinapusan (I want the best for my children that’s why I work hard to give them education because it’s something I was deprived of),” he said.    

Currently, he is assigned at   Agcalaga, Calinog. Prior to that, he was assigned in other NIA projects in San Miguel, Iloilo and Mabusao, Capiz. If asked of his advice to young workers in JRMP II, Manong  Oting was quick to say “  Obra kamo maayo kag  palangaa ng inyo mga trabaho kay indi tanan may ara sang  trabaho kaangya ninyo (Work hard and love your jobs because not all are given the same                 opportunity as you have now.)

Certainly, JRMP II is everybody’s partner in progress. Apart from irrigation and other benefits, employment opportunities during project construction will make a huge difference in      people’s lives.  Manong Oting’s experience is a testament of how this project can be a real “Katuwang sa Kauswagan”./JP  

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Multi-sectoral monitoring all set for JRMP implementation

Iloilo City – Monitoring plans relative to the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) issued to Iloilo’s biggest irrigation project are being firmed up vis-à-vis project implementation. This as members of the Mutli-Partite Monitoring Team (MMT) for the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) convened on March 22, 2016 for a kick-off meeting.

Highlight of the meeting was the presentation and deliberation of the Manual of Operations (MOO) for project monitoring. The MOO contains specific functions of its 34 members comprised of national government agencies (NGAs), local government units (LGUs), non-government organizations (NGOs), business sector groups and the academe. Also stipulated are the schedules of monitoring set agreed by the team.

A major condition in the ECC issued to NIA on July 3, 2012 for the implementation of JRMP II, the MMT was formed through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) forged by its members on May 28, 2014. It will monitor the project’s compliance to the conditions stipulated in the ECC and Environmental Monitoring and Audit Program (EMaP). It shall also provide oversight function to ensure accomplishment of the project objectives and results. Specific members of the MMT for JRMP II include the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), project proponent,

National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the Provincial Environmental and Natural Resource Office (PENRO). Important members too are the Provincial Government of Iloilo and the Local Chief Executives of the eight towns affected by the project. 

Representing the business sector in the MMT is the Iloilo Economic Development Foundation (ILED) while non-government organizations are represented by the PROCESS Foundation. Also represented in the MMT are the beneficiaries and stakeholders of project, the Irrigators’ Association and the Indigenous Peoples’ communities affected by JRMP II. Finally, the academe is represented by the Central Philippine University - Research Center, West Visayas State University - College of Agriculture and Forestry, and University of the Philippines Gender and Development Program. 

During the meeting, the MMT agreed to further review the MOO and its Work and Financial Plan. Approval will follow on their succeeding meetings on April provided all queries and conditions were agreed upon by the members.

JRMP II  dubbed  as    a ‘long-delayed’ irrigation development project is expected to be implemented on the second quarter of the year. It aims for a sustainable and multi-purpose utilization of the Jalaur River for irrigation, hydropower generation and bulk water supply for industrial and commercial use. A ‘game-changer’ for the province of Iloilo, the project will boost rice production, provide employment during construction, mitigate flooding and will usher eco-tourism. /JP (Shimei Ramos, DC-IV)

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NIA seeks ‘convergence initiative’ for sustainable water resource utilization

Iloilo City – The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) here appealed for the convergence of National Government Agencies (NGAs), Local Government Units (LGUs), and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) for sustainable water resource management vis-à-vis threats of Climate Change.  This was the battle cry of Regional Manager Gerardo P. Corsiga before the attendees of the recently concluded World Water Day celebration.

On March 30, 2016, government and non-government leaders, water management advocates, watershed experts, the academe and community workers gathered at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol for said event. Participants discoursed on supply and demand for water, water management and saving techniques; and their commitments to ensure water quality, quantity and sustainability in Iloilo.

‘Convergence initiative’ for sustainable water resource utilization was among the solutions seen by the NIA to ensure participation of various sectors of society in said endeavour.

“Iloilo’s unprecedented growth is not  immune from threats of a global enemy that is capable of crippling and discrediting our efforts in making this province progressive. We need to walk together to ensure that water will be available for all alongside our growth as a province,” expressed Manager Corsiga.

He further added that if theagriculture sector could not be resilient to Climate Change,  food security will be at risk hence there is a need for a collective effort to mitigate the impacts of erratic weather condition in the country.

As a response to the threats of Climate Change, Manager Corsiga disclosed to the participants that NIA has turned into sustainable and multi-purpose utilization of water resources. Water from                                        rivers and creeks are utilized not solely for  irrigation but for other purposes such as    hydroelectric power generation and bulk   water supply for industrial and domestic use.

“The Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) is an example of these dams we have at NIA that were designed to be Climate Change resilient. Its implementation will also involve convergence with other government agencies,” he cited.

JRMP II will construct the very first large-scale reservoir dam that will provide year-round irrigation to 31, 840 hectares of farm lots in the province of Iloilo. In addition to that , it will also generate 6.6 megawatts of hydroelectric power and bulk water supply for the city and the province. It will also mitigate flooding in Calinog and nearby towns, provide employment during construction and will usher eco-tourism in its covered areas.

JRMP II apart from the infrastructures that we will construct will also involve an Institutional Development Program and Watershed Management to ensure sustainability and multi-sectoral involvement.

“With the convergence of various government agencies, NGOs and other sectors of the community, we can make lasting and sustainable solutions to Climate Change and Water Resource Management,” he added. / JP (Steve E. Cordero, PRO-C)

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The Captivating Hinterlands of Tapaz

(Memoirs of an FPIC Team member)

Western Visayas is brewing again another milestone in irrigation development. Alongside with the preparations for the implementation of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) in Calinog Town, Province of Iloilo, is the feasibility study that will be undertaken for the Panay River Basin Integrated Development Project (PRBIDP) in Tapaz town, Province of Capiz. 

A major water resource for agriculture, domestic and industrial use, the Panay River Basin once developed is seen to boost agriculture production, mitigate perennial flooding, and provide source for potable water and renewable energy for the province. Important too is the development of sustainable measures in the management of the Panay River Basin Watershed.

The feasibility study for PRBIDP covers 27 barangays, 20 of which are communities of the Panay-Bukidnon Indigenous Peoples of Tapaz. As such, mandatory consultations through the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) Process were undertaken by the National Irrigation Administration

Regional Office 6 (NIA-RO6) to secure IP consent for the FS. The FPIC is provided under Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), a guiding principle of the PRBIDP.

I am one of the lucky few who were chosen to comprise the FPIC Team for the project. Being in NIA for less than a year, I was privileged to document the process and discover the wonders of Tapaz that remains unknown to many.

The Extra Mile

Conducting the community assemblies for PRBIDP meant going the extra mile for most of the FPIC Team Members. We were literally miles above sea level, far from our homes and the comforts of life in the city. We spent 20 days or more in the hinterlands of Tapaz, visiting one community after the

other. But in all these, it was an extra mile spent well for it was made for the good of many.

January 23, 2015 was when I first set foot on the hinterland barangays of Tapaz. It was the second stretch of the Consultative Community Assemblies for the FPIC Process. The first set of community assemblies were conducted in December 2014 and focused on the lowland areas of the town.  Our journey started with a long winding trip from Iloilo to Tapaz aboard a four-wheel vehicle,

until the most remote area that it can reach. Then with our bags and packed supplies, we started to walk to reach our destination.

One unforgettable experience we had was our travel from Barangay Buri to Nayawan.  “Nayawan” is a local term for getting fed up or having more than enough. And we seriously did have more than what we expected.

We trekked the steep rolling terrains of Tapaz for hours. Everytime we ask our guides if we are near the location they would just answer “lapit na lang” (we are near) but truth is we were miles away from the actual location. After the long trek, we reached the bank of Panay River. Because of the deep and strongly flowing river, we need to ride on bamboo raft. After learning that we need to cross the river, the first thing that popped into my mind is “how are we supposed to do that? I ain’t a swimmer. We don’t have life-jackets.” I wasn’t actually the only person who thought of it, all of us in the team are no swimmers.  To take worries away, our guides improvised a raft which would carry us to the other side. A rope was stretched from one side of the river to the other so we can hold on to it while crossing. The improvised raft could only accommodate two FPIC team members per ride. So,

patiently I waited for my turn while nervously watching my other co-members cross the river. When it was my turn, I felt like my nervousness swallowed me whole. I’ve never been that afraid in my whole life. God forbidsthe raft or the rope to snap while we cross. My hands were ice-cold and I could feel my sweat running through my bald head. It was the longest raft ride I ever had. All the fear and the sweat were paid off when we reached Nayawan safe and sound. After setting foot on the barangay proper, we confessed to the residents we surely had enough just to get to their place and that is how much love we have for our work and for them who will benefit the project if ever

it is feasible.

Tapaz in a plate

I’m sure the rest of our team would agree that aside from mountain climbing and trekking, river swimming and many other experiences we had throughout the FPIC process, native cuisine has made our journey gastronomically unforgettable. Staying there for weeks, I had this chance to taste the indigenous foods of the Tapaz hinterlands. Made with local ingredients and prepared the traditional way, their food was a unique experience for my discriminating taste.

Pako, an edible fern, is one of the foods I could never forget. It is almost an ubiquitous plant that grows in the river or creek and tastes far better than any other vegetable I had tasted

my whole life. Like any other green leafy vegetables, it could be served blanched and added with a bit of soy sauce, sliced tomatoes and onions. It could also be cooked in coconut milk with mixed ginger and tomatoes. Natives call the delicacy as “Ensalandang Pako”. Another traditional way of cooking it is “tinuom” which means “wrapped”. Locals wrap the fern, tomatoes and other spices with banana leaf and cook it in pot for few minutes. Another prized food of the IPs in Tapaz is their “unog” which is a small fish that are abundantly found in rivers or creeks. There are actually different ways of preparing it but my favorite is “Tinuom nga Unog”. Nobody would ever think that small river

fishes could be gigantic in taste once cooked well.  With these food served on the table, who would still complain of the long hours of trekking and river crossing? Definitely not me.

Binanog Dance

The FPIC experience has opened my heart and mind to the culture and traditions of the Panay Bukidnons of Tapaz. Though I have seen various Binanog dances before, still I was fascinated by it. Binanog is traditional dance of the Panay Bukidnons imitating the hawk locally called as “banog”. Binanog dance is usually performed during courtship however in most of the barangays we have visited we were welcomed by the locals through this dance. IPs gracefully danced through the beat of drums and improvised bamboo instruments. It was an amazing experience for me and definitely no welcome can ever be warm than through Binanog dance.

The People

Above all breath-taking sceneries we saw, the palatable food we tasted and the wonderful dance we were welcomed with, the top reason why I enjoyed my FPIC experience the most is the people we have met. Panay-Bukidnons in Tapaz were very hospitable. They have even offered their own houses as our shelters during our stay in their community. Many of them left their jobs in the farm to attend our assembly. Everybody attentively listened to the discussion and participated during the open forum. Many of the IPs in Tapaz rarely go down the town proper so they are used to see the same faces all the time. As such, we expected that most of them would be very aggressive and reluctant to communicate with us but to our surprise they were actually friendly and very caring. Everybody smiles all the time. They seem to be contended of the simple lives they have in the hinterlands.

In all these, the FPIC Process for the FS of the PRBIDP was a treasured experience

for me. More than being trusted to perform a duty others may have turned down, I feel totally happy that I am involved and that I have done something for the agency I work for and the people of the Tapaz. As of writing, NIA is awaiting for the issuance of the Certification of Pre-Condition from NCIP to finally effect the IP consent for the FS of PRBIDP. /RAMON C. SALVILLA, CDA-II

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R6 hosts NIA Top Management Meeting

Bacolod City – National Irrigation Administration’s (NIA) top leaders and planning experts gathered here on October 15-17, 2015 for a national planning and target setting for the last quarter of 2015 and for construction year 2016.

Dubbed “Joint Conference for NIA Regional, Project and Department Managers” the event is a regular meeting of the minds for the agency’s frontrunners. Present during the meeting were NIA Administrator Florencio F. Padernal, DPA, Deputy Administrator Engineering and Operations

Engr. Erdolfon B. Dominggo and Deputy Administrator for Administrative and Finance Estrella E. Icasiano.  Representing the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Food Security and

Agricultural Modernization (OPAFSAM) Sec. Fredelita “Edel” C. Guiza was Program Manager Cecilia Claire “Jeng” Reyes who assured NIA of the OPAFSAM’s support.

“Identify, plan, prepare and implement”, Administrator Padernal encouraged NIA managers to be ready and to plan ahead to improve the performance of the agency.

Administrator Padernal further emphasized that the next 10 years will be crucial for

NIA hence the need to develop a comprehensive master development plan to ensure that the agency keeps pace with progress and that stakeholders are involved in all stages of irrigation

development. /SHIMEI M. RAMOS, DC IV

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NIA, TESDA offer skills training for Jalaur IPs

Calinog, Iloilo – Members of the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) here covered by the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) availed skills training offered by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). Dubbed Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP), it is an entitlement for the affected families ensured through strong partnership with TESDA and with the fervent support of TESDA 6 Regional Director Toni June Tamayo. One member of each Project Affected Family (PAF) can avail of this training to equip them with necessary skills that will qualify them for work during project construction. Courses   offered include Masonry, Carpentry,

Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW NC I) and Heavy Equipment Operation.

“The courses you will avail will not only prepare you for employment during JRMP II construction but it will prepare you for bigger opportunities after Jalaur. Ayaw naming na hanggang laborers lang kayo” said JRMP II Concurrent Project Manager Engr. Gerardo P. Corsiga. He further stressed that the training is just the start of the NIA’s commitments to the affected IPs.  After the training completion, NIA will assist the beneficiaries in availing assessments for them to earn a National

Certificate (NC).  An NC  is a major requirement in many construction firms here and abroad for hiring of skilled personnel.

On October 21, 2015 the first batch of IPs beneficiaries started training for Shielded Metal Arc Welding National Certificate I (SMAW NC I )at the West Visayas State University (WVSU)-Calinog campus. The training will run for 21 days and was offered to both male and female beneficiaries.

Jose Jimmy P. Amoma, Training Instructor from RTC-U Talisay Mobile Training Program

(MTP) encouraged the participants to complete the training and work hard to pass the assessment. He further stressed that SMAW is not just exclusive for men because female welders are also in demand abroad. Such reason inspired Shaye Jan Cabayao of Brgy. Toyungan to avail of the training. She is one of six female IP beneficiaries who enrolled in SMAW for Batch 1.

“Gusto ko guid tana mag-obra pagkatapos ka daya nga training para mabuligan akon pamilya (I really

wanted to work in Manila after this training and help my family),” said Cabayao who is the eldest of two siblings. Whenever asked if she can handle the rigid SMAW training her response

would be “Wara takon nahadlok sa init kag sparks. Nagdako takon nga permi nakita akon Tiyo nga ga handle sang welding machine. Tapuson ko guid daya. (I’m not afraid of heat and of the sparks. I grew up seeing my Uncle doing welding works. I will complete this training).”

For Elder Allan Casiple of Barangay Garangan, he said that they are thankful to TESDA and NIA for the skills training that they availed. “Ginahambalan namon ang mga kabataan nga tapuson guid ang training kay dako guid ni nga oportunidad para kananda. Ipakita guid dapat nanda

sa gobyerno nga seryoso kita sa sini nga paghanas nga gintao kanaton (We encourage the beneficiaries to finish the training because this is a big opportunity for them. We need to show the government that we are serious with this opportunity they gave us)”Casiple further said.

JRMP II is Iloilo’s biggest irrigation project and a priority of the Aquino Administration in Western Visayas. Branded as “Partner in Progress”, the project is a much-deserved and much-needed development for every Ilonggo family. /RAMON C. SALVILLA, CDA-II

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NEW FOOD SECURITY CHIEF VISITS JRMP II

CALINOG, ILOILO – Months before the actual construction of Iloilo’s biggest irrigation project, no less than the Food Security Chief visited the site of the Jalaur high dam and consulted the affected stakeholders. Secretary Fredelita “Edel” C. Guiza of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization (OPAFSAM) is the very first Cabinet Official to visit the project area in the highlands of Calinog town. OPAFSAM heads four government agencies that were previously under the umbrella of the Department of Agriculture (DA). These are the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), National Food Authority (NFA), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and Fertilizers and Pesticides Authority (FPA).

Dubbed Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II), the project is a priority of the Aquino Administration under the OPAFSAM and NIA. It aims to provide year-round irrigation to more than 31, 840 hectares of farmlands in Iloilo Province and to contribute to the national rice selfsufficiency

target of 7.6%. Secretary Guiza’s visit on December 12 was highlighted with a short dialogue with the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) Elders and Barangay Officials of Agcalaga, Garangan and Masaroy villages.“Nagpapasalamat po kami ng lubos kay Sec. Guiza sa kaniyang pagbisita dito sa amin at sa mabilis niyang aksyon sa mga hiniling namin kagaya ng NFA distribution centers sa bundok”, said Agcalaga Chieftain Jimmy Lastrilla.

Earlier in June, the IP community has requested for the increase of the supply of rice distributed by the NFA and creation of distribution centers in the IP barangays of the town. The Food Security Chief who was then Undersecretary of the OPAFSAM immediately called the attention of NFA in Region 6 to address their request. Currently, NFA distribution centers were already established in said  communities.  Also, 1.5 million worth of seedlings and fertilizers from the PCA were secured for the IPs through the Secretary’s initiative. An initial 500 coconut seedlings were already distributed to the community. “Nagpapasalamat po ako sa inyong mainit na pagtanggap sa amin. Lubos po akong natutuwa sa mga nagawa na ng NIA para sa inyo kagaya ng inyong mga daanan. Dapat po pasalamatan natin ang kanilang (NIA) dedikasyon para sa ating lahat”, said Secretary Guiza. “Magpasalamat din po tayo sa NFA at PCA sa mga tulong na kanilang inaabot dito sa atin”, she added.

Present during the short dialogue were NIA Regional Manager Engr. Gerardo P. Corsiga, NFA Regional Director Bernie Asetre and PCA Regional Director Joey Cruz. The Food Security Czar also met the newly organized Irrigators Associations (IAs) in Calinog and visited the Barotac

Viejo Small River Irrigation Project (BVSRIP) in the Fifth District of Iloilo. Secretary Guiza was appointed head of OPAFSAM on October 1, 2015 following former Secretary Francis Pangilinan’s resignation. On her first month, she immediately visited NIA Region 6 to check on the implementation of JRMP II. / STEVE E. CORDERO, PRO-C

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MGB: JRMP II relocation is Safe

Calinog, Iloilo – The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) affirmed the reliability of the relocation site for the families affected by Iloilo’s biggest irrigation project.

The affirmation came after the geohazard assessment conducted by the MGB together with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), proponent of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) and the National Housing Authority (NHA) on October 22, 2015. 

NIA will relocate families that will be directly affected by the JRMP II.  The relocation site in Sitio Agburi in Barangay Cahigon, Calinog was selected by the relocates themselves after series of consultative discussion.

MGB 6 Supervising Geologist Leilanie Suerte described the location’s topography as hilly to mountainous. “In looking for a relocation site the ideal is situated in the flat area because the slope is flat. In this case, our relocates chose this hilly area hence it will need engineering interventions or slope stabilization measures,” she said.

The affirmation came after the geohazard assessment conducted by the MGB

together with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), proponent of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) and the National Housing Authority (NHA) on October 22, 2015. 

NIA will relocate families that will be directly affected by the JRMP II.  The relocation site in Sitio Agburi in Barangay Cahigon, Calinog was selected by the relocates themselves after series of consultative discussion. / RAMON C. SALVILLA, CDA –II

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JRMP trains community workers

In preparation to the commencement of construction activities and to effectively organize farmers into Irrigators’ Associations, the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) recently added a batch of community development (ComDev) workers to its squad.

The 17 newly-hired ComDev staff have undergone a pre-deployment training

workshop last November 9 to 13, 2015. The 5 day-live in training was held at NIA-JRMP II RIM quarters. The development training aims to boost the employee’s morale, to acquire knowledge, skills and attitudes to both training room and actual field immersion. They were deployed and tasked to organize and train potential farmer benificiaries to be partners of NIA in irrigation development and management.

Engineer Jun Nathaniel Plaza, Manager of the Construction Division, said that being in the field is not a joke. “Rain or shine we are on the field to work, I am advising everyone to be honest, what  problems encounter in the field should be reported to address matters,” he added.

Engineer Plaza further encouraged the ComDev staff to help and to love the farmers because they are our partners in development.  Denny James Calanuga shared that through this training they were prepared with the skills they learned from the training workshop. “I have learned so much in this

training and I am thankful to NIA for the opportunity.”Calanuga is one of the 17 newly hired

Community Development Staff who will organize farmers to irrigators’ associations in the barangays that will be serviced by JRMP II.  /RAMON C. SALVILLA, CDA-II

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JRMP elects new set of NIAEASP Officers; Palmares wins union Prexy

Engr. Joaquin P. Palmares emerged victorious in the recently concluded NIA Employees Association of the Philippines (NIAEASP) JRMP II Chapter elections.

 A supervising engineer, Palmares is the head of the Contracts Administration Section of JRMP II and has been working for the project since March 2012.

On December 17, 2015 JRMP II employees cast their votes for the new set of NIAEASP Officers following the end of the three-year term of the incumbents.

The NIAEASP aims to promote moral, social and economic well-being; protect and uphold the individual and collective rights of the Union members (excerpt from NIAEASP Preamble). Local Chapters are established by the Regional Offices to implement policies, manage all the affairs, resources and properties of the union.

Elected officers shall hold office for a term of three years from the date of the election covering Fiscal Year 2016-2019. They will serve as the representative of the Chapter to the National Council.

Anchored to the main objective of the union, the newly elected officers will channel all issues and concerns to the regional and national councils, and to protect the rights of every union member.  /

SHIMEI M. RAMOS, DC IV

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CAHIGON  IPs receive electrification program

Calinog, Iloilo – Kerosene lamps and torches are now articles of the past for the Indigenous Peoples (IP) families of Barangay Cahigon, this town. What used to be an elusive dream for them in the mountainous area has become a reality when their request for electrification was heed and granted.  60 IP households were initially provided with electricity by the Iloilo II Electric Cooperative (ILECO II) through the Barangay Line Enhancement Program (BLEP).

The five million BLEP availed by Brgy. Cahigon was secured through the continued

partnership of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), proponent of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II), Provincial Government of Iloilo (PLGU), Municipal Government of Calinog (MLGU), and ILECO II. The implementation of the program commenced in October 2015 and has energized 60 out of its 180 target households. This is one of NIA’s commitments

to the affected IPs of the JRMP II

“Nalipay guid kami bangod may ara na kami kuryente sa bukid. Madugay na ini namon nga handum (We are happy that we finally have electricity here in the mountain. This has long been our dream”, said 65-year old Ma. Luz Lebuna of Sitio Patag who was in all smiles during the interview. She lived all her life in the place and said she was used to the flicker of the kerosene lamp that provided them light at night. “Amo daya gali kun may kuryente na, makatuon na maayo kun gab-i ang mga kabataan kag makatulog na kami maayo kay may suga na sa palibot kang amon balay. Katawhay guid sang amon pagpangabuhi. (When there is electiricty, our grandchildren can study well at night and we can sleep soundly and secured knowing that our backyard is well lighted. Our lives have become comfortable.)”, she added. 

Cahigon is one of the eight directly-affected

IP barangays of JRMP II. During the Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) undertaken

by NIA for project construction, the community has requested for the electrification of their barangay. Lines of the electric cooperative were previously up to Brgy. Toyungan (Cahigon’s neighbor) only. Hence, the community has requested for the extension of said lines. The agency channeled the community’s request to the PLGU which in turn brought the concern to the ILECO II. 

On November 26, 2015, the community formally accepted the electrification program through symbolic Lights on and Energization Ceremony. Present during the affair were Provincial Legal Officer Dennis Ventilacion representing Governor Arthur Defensor, Sr., Calinog Vice Mayor Rene Hurtada representing Mayor Alex Centena, NIA Supervising Institutional Development Officer

Ms. Ruth Cely M. Jamelo   representing Regional Manager Engr. Gerardo Corsiga. Also in attendance was ILECO II Board of Directors led by Board President Dr. Joel Diasnes, General Manager Engr. Jose

Redmond Eric Roqiuos, Board Members Jose Rex Pilador, Agnes Coronado, and Remia Sularan, and Calinog District Director Ernel Centena. In behalf of the community, Barangay Captain Alfonso Cabayao and Tribal Chieftain Avelino Caras received the project. /STEVE E. CORDERO, PRO-C

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Jalaur II still PNoy’s priority in WV

Steve E. Cordero, PRO C

The Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) remains to be a priority project of the Aquino Administration in Western Visayas. On his latest State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Benigno Aquino III once again included JRMP II in the roster of infrastructure projects his administration championed. Other projects mentioned include Lulutan Bridge in Isabela, Balog-Balog Multi-Purpose Project Phase 2 in Tarlac and Basilan Circumferential Road in Basilan among many others.

“On the Straight Path, long awaited infrastructure projects are constructed one after the other. . . The Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project, in Iloilo, was conceptualized around the time of my birth; We have recently broken ground for stage 2 of this project.”

JRMP II, dubbed “long-delayed irrigation project,” dates back from 1960s during the legislation of Republic Act 2651 otherwise known as “An act providing for the construction of the Jalaur Multi-Purpose Project in the Province of Iloilo and Governing its operation after its completion.” Stage 1 of the project was completed in 1982 which was followed by a long lull that lasted for 30 years. Only in 2012, under the Aquino Administration, Stage 2 was brought to life after the governments of South Korea and the Philippines inked loan agreement for the project. 

National Irrigation Administration VI Regional Manager and JRMP II Concurrent Project Manager, Engineer Gerardo P. Corsiga welcomed the President’s acknowledgement and thanked the Chief Executive for his unwavering support for the project.

“We are humbled and grateful at the same time with the President’s acknowledgement of JRMP II on his final SONA,” said Manager Corsiga. “This proves that the project and its beneficiaries, our Ilonggo stakeholders, particularly our farmers and our Indigenous Peoples (IPs), have a special place in the President’s heart.”

For Manager Corsiga, JRMP II is a legacy that Aquino will leave his beloved people in Iloilo. He further said that he, along with the project’s working force, are happy to take part in the realization of this “dream project” that will complement the unprecedented growth of the province and city of Iloilo.

JRMP II is the first large-scale reservoir to be constructed outside of Luzon. It will provide year-round irrigation to 31, 840 hectares of farm land and increase annual rice production from 140,000 to 300,000 metric tons. Further, it will contribute to the national rice self-sufficiency target of 7.6 percent.

Also, its 6.6 megawatts hydroelectric power and bulk water component will augment the province’s and the city’s demand for power and potable water. And finally, the generation of employment opportunities during construction and eco-cultural tourism in the areas it covers particularly the hinterlands of Calinog.

Branded as “Partner in Progress,” the project is a much-deserved and much-needed development for every Ilonggo family. For the third time now, the project has consistently been on the President’s SONA since 2013.//

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‘Convergence initiative’

NIA, 22 other gov’t agencies firm up Jalaur dam project commitments, interventions

Steve Cordero, PRO C

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).//

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JRMP law turns 55 today

NIA welcomes 2nd stage implementation within the year

A Special Feature by Steve E. Cordero, PRO C

 

55 years ago, members of the Fourth Philippine Congress enacted Republic Act (RA) 2651 otherwise known as the “An act providing for the construction of the Jalaur Multi-Purpose Project in the Province of Iloilo and Governing its operation after its completion.”

The law specifically provides that law “There shall be constructed at the Jalaur River in the Province of Iloilo, based on plans and specifications duly approved by the Secretary of Public Works and Communications, a multi-purpose project, to be known as the Jalaur Multi-Purpose Project, hereinafter called the Project, for the purposes of regulating and controlling floods caused by the Jalaur River, storing its waters and using them to irrigate agricultural lands in the Jalaur Valley, and generating and transmitting electric power and energy.”

The date was June 18, 1960 during the incumbency of President Carlos P. Garcia, House Speaker Daniel Romualdez and Senate President Eulogio Rodriguez. What happened thereafter was a project lull that lasted a good 52 years from the passage of the law and 30 years from the completion of its first stage in 1982.

Everything changed under the Aquino Administration when on August 9, 2012 the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project was brought back to life. The Government of South Korea and the Republic of the Philippines signed the Loan agreement for the project.

Thus 55 years today, hopes are very high with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) for the implementation of what now stands as the biggest irrigation project in Iloilo.

Dubbed “Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II)”, the project is the very first large-scale reservoir dam outside Luzon.

“In 1960 our national leaders have seen the clear potential of the Jalaur River for multi-purpose use such as irrigation, power, potable water and flood control” said NIA 6 regional manager and concurrent JRMP II project manager Engineer Gerardo P. Corsiga. “Exactly 55 years later, here we are working for the completion of its second stage which we consider to be the heart of economic development in the city and province of Iloilo…We have high hopes the project will be implemented this November.”

JRMP II will provide year-round irrigation to 31, 840 hectares of farm land and increase annual rice production from 140, 000 to 300, 000 metric tons. Further, it will contribute to the national rice self-sufficiency target of 7.6 percent.

Also, its 6.6 megawatts hydroelectric power and bulk water component will augment the province’s and the city’s demand for power and potable water. And finally, the generation of employment opportunities during construction and eco-cultural tourism in the areas it covers particularly the hinterlands of Calinog.

In his speech during the 117thPhilippine Independence Day Celebration in Iloilo, President Benigno C. Aquino III emphasized JRMP as a major undertaking that was conceptualized during the time of his birth but was left unfulfilled until his administration. “If this project was completed long before we came into office, how many thousands of farmers could have benefitted and could have had better lives because of working irrigation?” he posed.

Earlier this month, Ilonggo leader and staunch JRMP II supporter Senate President Franklin M. Drilon pronounced support and prayers of the highest Iloilo Catholic leader, Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, for the project. Manager Corsiga welcomed the support saying “the Archbishop’s blessing and backing signifies his support not only to NIA but to our farmers, our IPs and all Ilonggos who are looking up to this project as a long-term solution to our problems in water, power and food security.”

Also, Indigenous Peoples’ (IP) full consent for project implementation was secured by NIA last April 2015. Elders of the 16 IP barangays covered by the project signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC). The FPIC is mandated under R.A. 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA). The Issuance of the Certificate of Pre-Condition is now for the deliberation of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) En Banc this month.

An Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) was secured for the project and a Land Acquisition and Resettlement Action Plan (LARAP) was prepared to address environmental and relocation concerns.

With plans and programs in place, support of national leaders, government agencies and project stakeholders and concurrence of the banking institution, Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) the project is expected to commence within the year.

Branded as “Partner in Progress”, the project is a much-deserved and much-needed development for every Ilonggo family.//

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NIA leads creation of management body for Jalaur Watershed

Geraldine J. Galeno, PPDA A

 

A Technical Working Group (TWG) for the management of Jalaur watershed area was formed by the National Irrigation Administration Regional Office 6 (NIA 6).

This, as environmental protection and watershed preservation continue to be top priorities of the implementation of Western Visayas’ biggest irrigation project, the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II).

In its latest move, NIA convened with partner National Government Agencies (NGAs), Local Government Units (LGU) and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs).  Held Tuesday, created was TWG for JRMP II Watershed.

Present were Mayor Alex A. Centena of the Municipality of Calinog and the Chairman of Jalaur River Basin Management Board, Mayor John H. Tarrosa of the Municipality of Zarraga, Soledad Sucaldito, Iloilo Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer, Dr. Jessica Salas of Kahublagan Sang Panimalay Foundation, Inc., Susan Calaor, Be Secure Provincial Coordinator, and Dr. Eva Leal-Lam from WVSU CAF.

With the creation of its TWG for Watershed Management, the meeting also aimed to harmonize the existing plans and programs of upper Jalaur Watershed in relation to the implementation of JRMP II Watershed Management Plan and identify watershed strategies to protect the water quality and quantity while maintaining the productivity for agricultural, commercial and other uses in its watershed area. Another is exploratory discussions with concerned agencies, LGUs and NGOs in consultation with the cultural community and formulation of localized principles for fresh water protection.

Also present were the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officers (MENRO) of the 8 municipalities with watershed areas of the province and representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Regional Office 6, DENR Biodiversity Partnership Project (DENR BPP), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD).

Integral to the group is Provincial Environmental and Natural Resources Officer Soledad Sucaldito who presented the existing TWG of Iloilo Watershed Management Council (IWMC).  The roles and functions of the TWG for the IWMC can be adopted into the watershed management plan of JRMP II.

“The TWG will prepare, implement and monitor the JRMP II Watershed Management Plan (WMP) which is a vital component in the sustainability of our project,” said NIA Regional Manager and Concurrent JRMP II Project Manager Engr. Gerardo P. Corsiga. “This TWG will focus on the management of the Jalaur Watershed,” he added.

In an earlier interview, DENR Regional Executive Director Jim O. Sampulna lauded NIA’s efforts to include Watershed Management in its implementation. “JRMP II is perfect one because of its reforestation and watershed components…other irrigation projects in the entire country do not have these.”

JRMP II is the first large-scale reservoir dam outside of Luzon. The project is designed to harness the potential of the Jalaur River for multi-purpose use while minimizing impacts to the environment and to the community it covers. It will provide year-round irrigation to 31, 840 hectares of farm land and increase annual rice production from 140, 000 to 300, 000 metric tons. Further, it will contribute to the national rice self-sufficiency target of 7.6 percent.

Also, its 6.6 megawatts hydroelectric power and bulk water component will augment the province’s and the city’s demand for power and potable water. And finally, the generation of employment opportunities during construction and eco-cultural tourism in the areas it covers particularly the hinterlands of Calinog.//

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NIA thankful for Archbishop’s support

Steve E. Cordero, PRO C

 

Western Visayas’ biggest irrigation project is moving forward, now with strong support from no less than Iloilo’s highest Catholic leader.

In a press release issued Friday, Ilonggo leader and Senate President Franklin M. Drilon reported that Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo has given his blessing and prayers for the successful implementation of the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II). The backing came after Drilon’s meeting with the prelate together with Jaro Archdiocese Social Action Center (JASAC) Executive Director Msgr. Meliton Oso.

According to the Ilonggo Senator, the Archbishop said he will “pray for the success of the Jalaur (JRMP II), and let no one delay it any further.” 

NIA regional manager and JRMP II project manager Engr. Gerardo P. Corsiga, sincerely welcomed the support and said he is thankful to the Catholic leader. “We are moving forward, now with strong support from no less than Iloilo’s highest Catholic leader, His Excellency Archbishop Lagdameo.  We are so thankful,” said Manager Corsiga.  “The Archbishop’s blessing and backing signifies his support not only to NIA but to our farmers, our IPs and all Ilonggos who are looking up to this project as a long-term solution to our problems in water, power and food security.”

Manager Corsiga further assured that the Archbishop’s support will be translated into concrete efforts to ensure judicious implementation of the project, particularly to address concerns of IPs and landowners who will be affected by it.

NIA has recently secured all 16 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of the IPs. The FPIC is mandated under R.A. 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), a guiding principle in JRMP II implementation.

Also, the project has acquired an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) and has prepared a Land Acquisition and Resettlement Action Plan (LARAP) to address environmental and relocation concerns.

“We are also thankful to our Senate President Franklin Drilon for his unwavering support to our project,” Manager Corsiga added.

JRMP II is the first large-scale reservoir dam outside of Luzon. The project is designed to harness the potential of the Jalaur River for multi-purpose use while minimizing impacts to the environment and to the community it covers. It will provide year-round irrigation to 31, 840 hectares of farm land and increase annual rice production from 140, 000 to 300, 000 metric tons. Further, it will contribute to the national rice self-sufficiency target of 7.6 percent.

Also, its 6.6 megawatts hydroelectric power and bulk water component will augment the province’s and the city’s demand for power and potable water. And finally, the generation of employment opportunities during construction and eco-cultural tourism in the areas it covers particularly the hinterlands of Calinog.

Branded as “Partner in Progress,” the project is a much-deserved and much-needed development for every Ilonggo family.//

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Peoples’ forum draws more JRMP support

As stakeholders call for project implementation

By Steve Cordero, PRO C

 

Iloilo City – Support for the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) widens and continues to increase. This, with the success of the recent forum initiated by the project proponent, National Irrigation Administration (NIA).

Indigenous Peoples (IPs), farmers, Irrigators Associations (IAs), Non-Government Organizations and Government Agencies here gathered May 21, 2015, for said forum.

Dubbed as the “National Peoples Forum for JRMP II,” the event was graced by Ilonggo Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, NIA Administrator Engr. Florencio F. Padernal, Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, and Mayors of the Municipalities covered by JRMP II. Important too is the unified support and presence of the provincial government of Iloilo through Atty. Dennis Ventilacion representing Governor Arthur D. Defensor, Sr.

Also present were experts from the Korean Rural Community-Joint Venture, Engr. Sueng Ha Ryu, the dam design expert of South Korea who designed the JRMP II dams, and Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) Manila deputy director Eunseok Roy Kim.

“The Jalaur (project) is the most important and biggest project in the history of the Province of Iloilo and of the NIA Region 6. This is critical for it will uplift the lives of our beloved farmers in the province,” said Senator Drilon. “By supporting this project, we are supporting the future of our Province and the future of our children,” he added.

On the part of the City, Mayor Mabilog called for unity of various stakeholders for the implementation of the project. “Here in the City of Iloilo, we are almost complete. We have electricity, roads, commercial buildings, businesses, but only one is lacking and that is water,” said Mayor Mabilog.

“In Korea, it is already proven that the Jalaur dams are really a big help economically for the people residing there,” explained EDCF Manila Deputy Director Kim. “JRMP II is the biggest project in EDCF’s history in the Philippines. . .we look forward to the construction of the dams and  the Jalaur River project will be the best, ”he added.

Evan Teruel, President of Parokya Guadalupe Irrigators Association expressed that they do not have objections at all. He said that they want the project to start because they need water for their farmlands.

On his part, Alibunan IP Chieftain Ildefonso Carado called for the immediate implementation of the project. “Siling kaina ni Senator Drilon sa Nobyembre pa maumpisahan ang construction. . .sa probinsya sang Iloilo labi na guid sa Alibunan ga problema ang tawo sa ila tanom kay wala tubig, lapit na lang daan ang tig gulutom. Gani gusto namon nga ma implementar na ang project subong. (Senator Drilon said earlier that the construction will commence in November . . . In the province of Iloilo, especially in Alibunan, Calinog, the farmers are worried about their crops due to  lack of water, now that we are also approaching the lean months. This is why we want the project to be implemented now),” said Carado.

JRMP II is the first large-scale reservoir dam outside of Luzon. The project is designed to harness the potential of the Jalaur River for multi-purpose use while minimizing impacts to the environment and to the community it covers.

It will provide year-round irrigation to 31, 840 hectares of farm land and increase rice production. Also, its 6.6 megawatts hydroelectric power and bulk water component will augment the province’s and the city’s demand for power and potable water. Finally, is the generation of employment opportunities during construction and rural development in the areas it covers, particularly in the hinterlands of Calinog.//