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NIA Chief Visaya attends Zamboanga Sibugay Stakeholders Forum

Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay – Forging closer ties with farmer stakeholders and other government agencies through dialogue, NIA Zamboanga Sibugay Irrigation Management Office conducted a Stakeholders Forum last February 2, 2018 at PDRRMC Hall, Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Attended by NIA Chief Gen. Ricardo R. Visaya (Ret.) and his Deputy Administrator for Administrative and Finance BGen. Romeo G. Gan (Ret.), the said forum aims to bring together all organizations and agencies relevant to irrigation development to commit to a common goal of improving the farmer’s quality of life in the province of Zamboanga Sibugay. Zamboanga Sibugay Provincial Governor, Atty. Wilter Y. Palma, chiefs from different government agencies and private sectors as well as municipal mayors from the two (2) districts, joined in signing the covenant of support for this purpose.

“This forum is a good avenue for farmers and government implementers to level out understanding of each other’s concern and priority. We thank NIA for the support and the initiative of coming down to the provinces to hear us out and in returned having the opportunity as well to explain our programs to our constituents,” said farmer-turned-politician Municipal Mayor of Titay, Abner Talania.

The Philippine Army headed by BGen. Jacinto R. Bareng, and the Philippine National Police headed by PSSupt. Nestor Y. Tiempo also gave a security briefing and presentation of the peace and order situation of the province, respectively. It was followed by an open forum which gave the 600 farmer attendees and local chiefs an avenue to ask questions, air out concerns, and clarify matters regarding the implementation of irrigation projects in the province.

“In support of the “Build, Build, Build” program of the government, we will talk and collaborate with local chiefs and other stakeholders para di na ma-delay at madisturbo ang mga projects. We need the cooperation of everybody,” NIA Chief Visaya said.

The Stakeholders Forum is one of the initiatives of the Duterte administration to make government closer to the people by providing them a platform to access accurate information, assert their rights, and to enthuse faster project implementation.

Senior Deputy Administrator Bagasin inks contracts with irrigators, joins groundbreaking ceremony of Sibuguey Diversion Dam

Imelda, Zamboanga Sibuguey – In time with the region’s celebration of the 54th Founding Anniversary of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Senior Deputy Administrator Abraham B. Bagasin graced the highlights of the event: a mass contract signing with the Irrigators’ Associations (IAs) of National Irrigation Systems (NISs) during the opening ceremony at NIA Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur and a groundbreaking ceremony for Lower Sibugay II Diversion Dam in the afternoon in Imelda, Zamboanga Sibugay last July 5, 2017.

Modified IMT Contract Signing

The opening ceremony which was attended by all 68 IAs in the NISs, all NIA employees across the region and some LGU dignitaries marked the beginning of the three-day celebration of the agency’s founding anniversary observed at the regional level.  Part of the said ceremony was the contract signing of all IAs mentioned, indicating the implementation of the free irrigation as promised by the Duterte administration. This free irrigation policy is reflected at the modified Irrigation Management Transfer (IMT) Program of NIA which NIS farmers all over the region had entered into contract this morning.

Although the guiding principle of the IMT program as cited in the NIA Chapter still applies – that is, to pursue improved irrigation system performance, irrigation service, and attain financial sustainability in the operation and maintenance of the National Irrigation Systems (NIS) through the transfer of NIS management, partially or fully, to duly organized IAs – the modification of the payment scheme is markedly effected to accommodate the said free irrigation policy. As a shared responsibility under the free ISF, NIA will subsidize the operation and maintenance (O & M) of irrigation canals for the NIS with a formula pegged at Php1,750.00 per section for the maintenance compensation; with section defined as 3.5 km for cemented canals and 7.0 km for earth canals. For the operations compensation, the IA or the Federation will now be paid Php150.00/hectare/cropping after complying with its responsibilities as stipulated in the contract. Unlike before, the region follows a NIA-IA sharing of 67/33, respectively, after the IA satisfies the collection efficiency target of the region. With the loss of such incentive, the IA may collect fees among its farmer-beneficiaries but only as a fund raising activity within the IA, not as a financial responsibility to NIA.

“This is a new phase that we enter, we are very grateful to the Duterte administration and to NIA for their prompt implementation of this free irrigation. It is our hope that with this new policy the IAs will thrive more in improving rice production as well as the farmer’s quality of life,” Romeo Abay, the Regional Federation IA President said.

Joined by NIA’s top management, Senior Deputy Administrator Bagasin, the mass contract signing signified the fulfillment of Duterte’s free irrigation promise for the Filipino rice farmers.

Sibuguey Diversion Dam Groundbreaking

Following the mass contract signing, SDA Bagasin and party proceeded to grace the groundbreaking ceremony of the Sibuguey Diversion Dam located at Lumpanac-Gandiangan, Imelda, Zamboanga Sibugay. Attended by IA and barangay officials, respective municipal mayors, representatives from the vice’s and governor’s offices as well as the head and staff of NIA Sibugay Management Irrigation Office (IMO), the said ceremony commenced with some words of welcome from the Municipal Mayor Roselyn V. Silva of Imelda and Municipal Mayor Jarvis M. Acosta of Siay–the two municipalities within project coverage.

The said project which was presented by Regional Manager Diosdado A. Rosales aims to irrigate a total potential area of 3,000 hectares covering 10 barangays–Mirangan, Lagting, Bulacanan, Salinding, Sibuguey, Longpod, Coloran, Labasan, Kimos, and Poblacion–with 815 farmer-beneficiaries from both Imelda and Siay municipalities of the province. Manager Rosales discussed to the beneficiaries the diversion dam project specifications, coverage layout and the 5-year project development. Now on its 3rd year of project implementation, the Sibuguey Diversion Dam which has an allotted budget of 150 M for CY 2017 is a part of the Lower Sibuguey-II network and is a major installment in this big ticket project that started in 2014 and is expected to finish in 2019. The said 5-year project has a total project cost of 750 M which along with the diversion dam also includes the construction of canal structures, service and access roads, drainage system, flood protection dike, and terminal facilities among others.

The ceremonial time capsule laying spearheaded by Zamboanga Sibugay IMO Head, Carlos A. Sabado marked the beginning of the construction of the Sibuguey diversion dam including the protection works, and the fabrication and installation of electo-mechanical gates. The project is set to be completed on July 2018.

“This whole project has helped and will continue to positively and tremendously impact our farmers in Siay. In fact with the existing project in Siay, it has already allowed our farmers to compete with the existing rice market,” said Siay Municipal Mayor Acosta in dialect.

Moreover, SDA Bagasin during his speech conveyed the message of Administrator Ricardo R. Visaya on his staunch and strict stance on project implementation.  

“Our Administrator is very strict in project implementation, the contractors and all parties involved must follow the standards,” he said.

The new NIA Chief Ricardo R. Visaya has recently made known his 4-point agenda which are (1) eradicate graft and corruption, (2) institute measures to improve delivery of services, such as but not limited to, modernization of equipment for operations and project implementation, (3) strengthen NIA organization, and lastly (4) develop human resources and improve their capabilities. He is also guided by President Duterte’s principle on “Do what is right and what is legal.”

Regional Manager Mario H. Sande is the new Regional Manager of NIA R-9

Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur - The National Irrigation Administration Region 9 (NIA R-9) has a new Regional Manager, Engr. Mario H. Sande, who officially assumed his office, after a simple turnover ceremony last August 14, 2017 held at NIA Regional Office Function Hall, this municipality.

Regional Manager Diosdado A. Rosales, who served the Zamboanga Peninsula Region for four (4) years and has been twice a recipient of Regional Manager of the Year award (in 2015 and 2017) during his stint, turned over the leadership to Regional Manager Sande following his new assignment in NIA Region 12. This is part of NIA's "Regional Leadership Map", which aims to continuously enhance leadership skills and knowledge as well as to provide regional offices the opportunity to develop with each leadership.

Manager Sande have previously served the now dissolved NIA Negros Island Region as Regional Manager prior to this new assignment. He also briefly served NIA Region 2 for eight (8) months and NIA Region 7 two (2) years both as Regional Manager since his rising from the ranks in his home region in Region 12.

"I humbly accept this symbolic key of responsibility and sincerely promise that I will govern this region guided by the core values of commitment, integrity and professionalism," he said.

In his message during the ceremony, he emphasized the four (4) thrusts he has for the region starting with (1) effective and efficient implementation and timely completion of projects, (2) sustain effective operation and maintenance activities of existing irrigation systems, (3) increase support for institutional activities for the Irrigator's Association, and lastly (4) the judicious use of resources - financial, manpower, and equipment.

Further, he thanked the previous management of Manager Rosales for his activities and initiatives, and for putting the region at a higher level, being the Regional Office of the Year awardee for this year.

Manager sande, who is presently the President of NIA Association of Regional Directors and Operations Managers (ARDOMA), also targets NIA Region 9 to maintain, if not add more, to the accolades the region has already achieved.

NIA-9 bags NIA Anniversary Major Awards

NIA Central Office, Quezon City – In the celebration of the agency’s 54th Founding Anniversary, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) recognized its top performers and best leaders in the irrigation program of the government for CY 2016. The awarding ceremony was held at NIA Central Office grounds in Quezon City last June 22, 2017 bearing the theme, “Libreng Patubig Handog sa Magsasaka.”

NIA Region IX has consistently made it among the regions who produce top performing IAs in the country. In this year’s awarding ceremony, the LOWTIPTAM IA located in Tambulig, Zamboanga del Sur was awarded as the Most Outstanding IA 1st Runner Up under the National Irrigation System (NIS) Category. LOWTIPTAM IA President Crispo L. Jakosalem together with its IA Secretary Sandra L. Utlang and IA Treasurer Trinidad Y. Vale received a plaque of recognition and a cash prize of P30,000.00 from NIA Administrator Gen. Ricardo R. Visaya (Ret.) during the said ceremony.

Yet behind this accolade is the groundwork of a leader whose performance was also being lauded during the same awarding ceremony. Competing against 16 Regional Managers nationwide, Regional Manager Diosdado A. Rosales bagged The Regional Manager of the Year Award for CY 2016. Together with his wife, Hermie Rosales, he received his plaque of recognition and a cash prize of P50,000.00. He is later joined by Engineering and Operations Division Manager Joel C. Atay and Administrative and Finance Division Manager Albine Dave V. Jubilado when the region was called again for another feat. Mirroring his excellent leadership, his office was adjudged as The Regional Irrigation Office of the Year CY 2016 also receiving a plaque and a cash prize of P50,000.00 which was awarded by NIA top officials with Administrator General Ricardo R. Visaya (Ret.) handing over the awards himself.

It is the first time that NIA Regional Office IX received such recognition since its transfer in 2014, from a 600 sq. m rented office in Pagadian City to a 8,000 sq. m. NIA owned lot in Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur. The search for Regional Office of the Year award based its criteria for judging in the ISO-9001 which the agency is trying to get certified at.

However, for Regional Manager Rosales, it is not his first time to receive the Regional Manager of the Year award since his assignment in the region in September 2013. Following that year, he received his first Regional Manager of the Year award CY 2014, a newly approved Regional Manager at that. Attesting this feat, its IA has remained a top partner-implementer continuously receiving a many recognition both within and outside NIA as indicated in this year’s awarding.