PARACELIS, Mountain Province – The imposition of separate surety and performance bonds by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to a fellow government agency, the National Irrigation Administration, will derail the realization of the P2.04 billion Upper Botique irrigation project and deprive over 1,830 hectare of farmlands in four barangays here the benefits of sustainable irrigation, an irrigation official said here.
Engr. John Socalo, NIA-CAR regional irrigation manager, said tribal leaders in the towns of Natonin and Paracelis already favorably endorsed the implementation of the newest irrigation project but the sudden inclusion of the surety and performance bond requirement by the NCIP Mountain Province as a pre-requisite to the issuance of a favorable endorsement by the agency will affect the completion of the project.
He said NIA-CAR and other implementing agencies have no specific budgets for the posting of surely and performance bonds for their irrigation projects that is why he is questioning why the NCIP is mandating the implementing agency to post such bond for the irrigation project.
“When we secured the endorsement of the NCIP Apayao for our Marimay irrigation project in Flora, we were not required to post surety and performance bonds,” Socalo stressed.
He explained the posting of surety and performance bonds which was fixed by the NCIP Mountain Province at P10 million each for the irrigation project should be required from the winning contractor once the project will be awarded and not from the implementing agency which has not budget for such requirements.
Socalo claimed the Upper Botique irrigation project was proposed way back in the 1990s and was named by the proponents Upper Botique Small Reservoir Irrigation Project, referring to the upstream area of barangay Botique here, the proposed site of the reservoir.
He cited the project’s main feature shall be a zoned earth-fill dam which shall be built along the water source, the Siffu river traversing the towns of Natonin and Paracelis, Mountain Province.
When completed, Socalo cited the project, which is the first of its kind in the province, shall benefit around 732 farmers and is expected to boost irrigation growth and food production in the province considering that over 1,830 hectares of agricultural lands will be irrigated.
The NI-CAR official said major components of the project include a 33-meter high zone earth-fill embankment dam, access roads and service roads to cater to the irrigation requirements of the beneficiaries in barangays Bananao, Botique, Palitud and Anonat, all in Paracelis, Mountain Province.
He appealed to NCIP Mountain Province officials to reconsider the imposition of the surety and performance bonds on the implementing agency to allow the realization of the irrigation project for the sake of improved food security in the province in the future.
Under the NCP conditions, the NIA-CAR is being required to post the surety and performance bonds in the amount of P10 million each after the issuance by the host indigenous peoples of their resolution of consent but before the start of the project construction to answer for damages or violation of the terms and conditions of the endorsement which the indigenous peoples may suffer and claim n account of the project.