Zamboanga City – National Irrigation Administration Central Office (NIA CO) Inspectorate and Assistance Team (IAT) visited the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi collectively known as BASULTA on November 4-8, 2019 as part of their two-week project inspection in NIA Region IX. During its entry conference on November 4, 2019 at L’ Meridian Hotel, Zamboanga City, Col. Rogelio R Percol who spearheaded the said field inspection emphasized the objective of the group to provide guidance as well as opportunities for improvement should deficiencies in the project implementation are found. The IAT was divided into two (2) groups to cover the entire region which has 100 irrigation projects in CY 2019 alone. Projects to be visited were randomly pre-selected by the group which also included projects from previous years both ongoing and completed.
The region’s Security and Management Consultant, Gen Mayoralgo dela Cruz (Ret) played an important role in coordinating with the military forces to secure the sites to be visited as well as the personnel conducting the project inspection. Courtesy visits to the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ West Mindanao Command headquarters in Zamboanga City and to the 11th Infantry Division Philippine Army in Jolo, Sulu were done accordingly, a convergent and monumental effort in establishing a strong linkage with the military sector especially in areas where project implementation become very difficult due to security threats such as the case of BASULTA.
Optimizing the visit, a stakeholders’ meeting and mass turnover ceremony of irrigation projects was conducted at Beach Side Inn, Bongao, Tawi-tawi on November 7, 2019 following the project inspection in the area. A total of 78 stakeholders in attendance including Irrigators’ Association (IA) officers graced the said event which culminated in the signing of the covenant of support for the irrigation development of the island. The three (3) projects turned over were the Maalum Magsagao Communal Irrigation System (CIS), Guma Small Irrigation Project (SIP), and Sumangat-Sillubog CIS amounting to a total project cost of 40 M with a total service area of 208 hectares and to serve 51 farmer-beneficiaries. IA Presidents Nasser A. Dammang, Malik H. Mulok, and Kamruddin S. Salahuddin received the key of responsibility, respectively.
Regional Manager Mario H Sande, who is set to retire this year also joined the inspectorate team together with other key officials of NIA IX. Due to the unstable peace and security situations of the island provinces particularly in Sulu, Manager Sande was the first Regional Manager in NIA Region IX history who have completed the BASULTA project visit.
The IAT is set to conduct their exit interview on November 14, 2019 at NIA Regional Office in Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur with the presence of NIA Administrator Ricardo R Visaya (Ret) and other NIA higher ups. NIA Region IX is the last region to be visited by the group since their inception in 2017.