MB.com.ph December 27, 2011, 4:26pm
KORONADAL CITY, Philippines (PIA) – Irrigators in North Cotabato entered into an agreement with the Region-12 office of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA-12) recently for the operation and management of facilities of the Libungan River Irrigation System in their area.

Saltum Irrigator’s Association, Inc. (Saltumia, Inc.) and Libungan River Irrigation System Division 5-Chrislam Irrigators Association, Inc. (Libris Division 5 Chrislam) signed a contract with the NIA-12 Libris in line with the Irrigation Management Transfer (IMT) program.

Under the IMT contract, both irrigators’ associations agreed to operate and manage the irrigation facilities, including the lateral canals covered by the association.




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They will also take other duties, including water distribution and delivery, and bills preparation and collection of irrigation service fees.

The contract was signed by Saltumia, Inc. president Jerry Labrador, and Libis Division 5 Chrislam Danilo Tacan, and Engineer C’zar M. Sulaik, division manager of the Cotabato Provincial Irrigation Office for NIA.

Edna C. Bantala, irrigation superintendent of the Libungan River Irrigation System, said the contract signing is another milestone in the history of the office.

She said the government is now placing more emphasis on the role of irrigators associations, making them the centerpiece of development initiatives.

As this developed, Bantala encouraged other irrigator groups who have not yet decided to enter into a contract to make the move so that they could also avail of the services and benefits being enjoyed by the IAs, which have already existing IMT contracts with the NIA.

On the part of the irrigators, Labrador thanked the NIA administration for the effort that the agency has been extending to the IAs, particularly in irrigation-related activities.

He also enjoined his co-IA officers to continue supporting the programs of the NIA, especially the IMT program, for the benefit of the farmer-irrigation users.

NIA-12 Regional Manager Modesto Anderson M. Tolentino Jr. said the IMT program is aimed at empowering irrigators’ associations by allowing them to accept the responsibility of managing the irrigation facilities covered by their association.

Through this program, the IAs would feel a sense of ownership so they will take good care of the facilities and to strive to attain their goals as embodied in their contracts, Tolentino said.

He also advised the IA officers to be transparent to the members and to lay out to their members all transactions and activities they should consider.

He added that the IAs are now being recognized by the Department of Agriculture (DA), thus they should not betray the trust given by the agency to them.

He also encouraged the current IA officers to be in the lookout for potential leaders and train them, so they will also have the chance to hold the reins of their IAs.

Earlier this year, the LIBRIS Division 6 IA and Settlers IA of Midsayap (SIAM) entered into a contract under the IMT Model 2.

With the contract, Saltumia, Inc. is bound to operate and manage facilities in the 139.30-hectare area covering the villages of Salunayan and Tumbras in Midsayap, North Cotabato.

It involves 96 farmer-irrigators, Where 73 are members of Saltumia.

On the other hand, Libris Division 5 need to manage some 817.075 hectares in the villages of Central Katingawan, Lagumbingan, San Isidro, Patindeguen, and parts of Bagumba, all in Midsayap.