STRIKE TWO | NIA violates FPIC anew in Ifugao project

By SHERWIN DE VERA
www.nordis.net

BAGUIO CITY — The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples-Cordillera Administrative Region (NCIP-CAR) flagged the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) anew for failing to secure the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of the   Alfonso Lista Pump Irrigation Project (ALPIP) in Ifugao prior to earth-moving and construction.

In a letter addressed to NIA Chief Ricardo Visaya on June 11,  NCIP-CAR requested the said office to suspend or limit its construction activities “if possible” pending the issuance of the Certification Precondition (CP). NCIP-CAR Director Roland Calde assured NIA that the ALPIP is a top priority, so as not to cause further delay for the issuance of the CP.

NCIP-CAR learned during its Pre-FPIC Conference on June 10 that construction is already halfway through. NIA started earth-moving and construction in 2012 while filing of the application with NCIP-CAR was only on March 1, 2017.

“Considering the extent of the development already implemented by NIA, our office deemed it necessary to inform them of the procedural breach and request to hold the project in abeyance pending the issuance of the Certification Precondition,” said Rocky Ngalob, FPIC Focal Person of NCIP-CAR

As of May 15, the project is already 87 percent completed, according to NIA records.

WATERWAY. The portion of constructed diversion canal and outlet of the transbasin tunnel of the Alfonso Lista Pump Irrigation System. Photo courtesy of NIA-CAR.

NIA-CAR Manager Benito Espique, Jr. confirmed that construction of the ALPIP started in 2012 with a target to complete construction by 2017. However, the delayed release of funds prevented the said office from meeting its target.

The delay also caused the budget to adjust from P850 million to P1.31 billion as of 2018 estimates due to the price increase of construction materials. The amount covers the construction of pump house and related structures, five motor pumps, piping, the transbasin tunnel, irrigation canals, project office, access roads, and protection works.

ALPIP is among the priority projects of NIA in the Cordillera funded by the national government. On completion, the facility will irrigate 2,300 hectares in the villages of Sto. Domingo, Namnama, Namillangan, Calupaan. The facility will utilize the water from the Magat Dam

It can be recalled that on May 3, NCIP-CAR also requested NIA to suspend the construction activities at the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project (CRPIP) in Pinukpok, Kalinga pending the issuance of a Certificate Precondition. NIA only agreed to limit its construction activities in response to the request citing possible state lost from any delays. Weeks after, the NCIP en banc approved the Certificate Precondition for the project.

The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 (RA 8371) requires proponents of projects in indigenous peoples’ lands to secure the Certification Precondition before any undertaking commenced. The document also serves as proof that the proponent consulted the community and the concerned IP gave consent for the project.   # nordis.net

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