Shimei Ramos, DC IV
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.