Ramon C. Salvilla, CDA-II
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.