NIA HEROES: The Unheard Stories of the Community Workers

Clad in jeans, jackets, caps, walking shoes and backpacks, they visit barangays and residences of Project Affected Families (PAF), have meetings with farmers, organize and capacitate associations, do surveys, and, assist other departments in their activities. That’s the work life of an Institutional Development Officer (IDO). Yet, the story doesn’t end there.

Being the front liners in dealing with the farmers, IDOs have to have the strongest of hearts. They do not only organize Irrigators’ Associations (IA), they also negotiate and explain to the farmers and PAFs what Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) is. In order to do that, they have to travel alone to far reaching barangays in habal-habal (motorcycles for hire), sometimes on foot. The heat of the sun, torrential rain or the dangers of travelling alone are sometimes not considered. All for completion of work and hitting deadlines.

Despite all these, they keep going, not just because it’s their duty but also because they have built good relationships with the people they deal everyday especially the farmers. 

“Ikaw nalang pang indi ka anda nga ginatao nga mga laswahon (It would be you finding reasons to say no to the vegetables they give you)”, says Roselyn Cadarin, an IDO assigned in Municipality of Alimodian. 

 It is a common sight that an IDO is bringing various farm products given by the farmers. Some are even giving them live native chicken to take home. Their generosity is a proof of the good relationship between the beneficiary of the project and the workers for the project.

Sometimes, their generosity is taken to new level. They’ll look for someone who can be a prospect lover for single IDOs, even offer their own children. That’s how comfortable they are in dealing with these community workers.

Its importance to the implementation and even to project operation in the future is immense. Both sides have to work hand in hand in order to effectively and efficiently deliver irrigation water to the farmers, and, in the  operation and maintenance of irrigation facilities.

JRMP II aims to benefit a total of 24,000 farmers with 40 organized and duly registered IAs. Said farmers are covered by the 31,840 hectares of farmlands to be irrigated by the project. /JP Flordalie Pagente