Anticipation for Iloilo’s biggest irrigation development project continues to heighten. The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) conferred a Good Practice Award (GPA) to the Jalaur River Multi-Purpose Project Stage II (JRMP II) on March 7, 2018. The recognition is for the strategies used by the Project Management Office (PMO) in resolving recurring issues in project implementation.

No less than NEDA Undersecretary and GPA Screening Committee Chairperson Rolando Tungpalan confirmed this feat in a letter to NIA Administrator General Ricardo Visaya (Ret.) on March 2, 2018.

“The Screening Committee unanimously agreed that NIA’s strategies help to resolved recurrent issues in project implementation specifically on securing (the) FPIC (Free and Prior Informed Consent), (particularly) on the demands of Indigenous Peoples (IP) which were not under NIA’s mandate,” the communication reads.

The GPA is the third biennial recognition and award conferred by the Project Implementation Officers system under NEDA Investment Programming Office. It aims encourage implementing agencies (IA) such as NIA or units to take stock of agencies’ performance in implementing Overseas Development Assisted (ODA) projects. Furthermore, it aims to recognize agencies that developed good practices and multiply the benefits of such by allowing others to learn from and/or adopt them.

JRMP’s entry focused on “sustainable” and “pro-people” environmental and social safeguards used to secure the consent of the IPs affected by the project.  These strategies include the conduct of an inclusive FPIC to ensure the participation and free consent of the affected IPs for project implementation. In fact, NIA is the first government agency to apply for an FPIC in Western Visayas.

Also, an Inter-Agency Convergence (IAC) mechanism composed of 27 National Government Agencies (NGA) and Local Government Units (LGU) is part of JRMP’s good practice. A “synergy” of government resources and mandates to address development needs of the IP community is the key result of the IAC. To note, an initial 500 million pesos worth of infrastructure, basic social services and livelihood programs were channeled to IPs. These addressed the immediate-term development needs of the IP community such as roads, skills training, water systems, electrification, and, livelihood programs.

Another integral safeguard used in the project, is the formulation of holistic Land Acquisition and Resettlement Action Plan (LARAP). It addressed compensation and relocation needs of the affected IPs. The LARAP was prepared in close consultation with the affected IP community and has considered their culture and traditions.

At the helm of JRMP II implementation is NIA 6 Regional Manager Engineer Gerardo Corsiga, who welcomed this latest recognition.

“We thank NEDA for conferring us a Good Practice Award and for recognizing our humble efforts in making a difference in the lives of our stakeholders,” said Manager Corsiga. He also thanked all the personnel of JRMP II and all the project partners who have been working tirelessly to realize the project.

“More than a recognition, may the GPA be a challenge and an inspiration for us in NIA to continuously innovate so we can also raise the level of our services,” he added.

Apart from JRMP II which competed for Category B of the GPA – Resolving Recurring Issues in Project Implementation, NIA has three other finalists for the three other GPA categories. These NIA projects include Casecnan Multipurpose Irrigation and Power Project for Categories A – Achieving Desired Outcomes and C – Best Project Manager. Meanwhile, for Category D – Best Project Management Office, Agno River Irrigation System Extension Project is NIA’s entry.

The GPA is the second award received by the JRMP II for 2017. In December, the project, particularly its newsletter, JRMPipol, was recognized by the Philippine Information Agency as the Second Place Best Agency Newsletter in Region 6.

JRMP II is timely development project for the Province of Iloilo. It will give the necessary boost to the agriculture sector by providing year-round irrigation to 31,840 hectares of farm lands. It will increase annual rice production from 140, 000 to 300, 000 metric tons and 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. The project will also generate employment opportunities during construction and eco-cultural tourism particularly the hinterlands of Calinog town during operation.

The project was awarded to Daewoo Engineering and Construction Company on December 27, 2017 through an International Competitive Bidding. Actual construction activities for the project will commence within the year. #