By: Analene J. Escolano
The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) held the 2nd Irrigators Associations (IAs) Congress on June 6, 2017 at the Villa Caceres Hotel in Naga City, which was participated in by some 200 IA leaders from the six Bicol provinces.
The highlight of the event was the simultaneous signing of the modified Irrigation Management Transfer (IMT) contracts. A total of 62 IAs signed the contracts with NIA covering an area of 18,716 hectares of irrigated farmlands in the region. Under these contracts, the IAs have assumed the responsibility of clearing of lateral canals and the operation & maintenance of secondary irrigation structures and facilities in their respective areas of coverage.
Under the contract, NIA will pay the IAs P1,750.00 for the clearing of every 7 kilometers of lined or concrete canal, and the same amount for every 3.5 kilometers of unlined or earth canal for a period of six months in a year. In addition, NIA will pay the IAs the amount of P150.00/hectares of irrigated and planted area every cropping season.
NIA Administrator Ricardo R. Visaya witnessed the mass contracts signing ceremony. With him during the event were: Naga City Mayor John G Bongat; Silvestre B. Bonto, president of the National Confederation of Irrigators Association (NCIA) and member of the NIA Board of Directors; Pilipina P. Bermudez, NIA-Public Affairs & Information Staff chief; Engr. Bayani P. Ofrecio, NIA Institutional Development Department manager; and NIA Bicol Regional Manager Vicente R. Vicmudo.
In his speech, Administrator Visaya stressed that NIA will continue to construct more irrigation projects in the coming years to improve the farmers’ quality of life.
Mayor John G. Bongat, in his message to the farmers recognized NIA’s contribution to agriculture productivity, which is integral to the economic growth, not just in the Bicol region but also in the entire nation.
The event also gave NIA the opportunity to inform the IA leaders of the salient features of the guidelines on Free Irrigation Service Fee (ISF) program, which took effect during the first cropping season of 2017. With this program in place, NIA ceased collecting ISF from its farmer beneficiaries.
Representatives of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PHILRICE) also discussed their respective programs that will benefit farmers.
Earlier, on June 5, Visaya accompanied by NIA Bicol officials visited the Hinagyanan Dam in Calabanga to see the ongoing works on the replacement of the steel gates of the dam. “30"
Photo Caption: IMT contract signing with irrigators associations (IA) witnessed by NIA Administrator, Gen. Ricardo R. Visaya (Ret) (3rd from right). Accompanied by officials from NIA-C.O. namely, (L-R) Engr. Bayani P. Ofrecio, Dept. Manager - NIA IDD; Ms. Pilipina P. Bermudez, Dept. Manager – NIA-PAIS; and NIA5 officials; Engr. Wilfredo C. Papaya, Division Manager – NIA5 Engineering & Operations Division; NIA5 Regional Manager Vicente R. Vicmudo, Ph. D.; Hon. Silvestre B. Bonto, NCIA President/Member – NIA Board of Directors; Ms. Maria S. Ilarde, Div. Manager – Admin & Finance Division; and Engr. Edwin G. Ramos