(Left) Joel Carasig of the NIA Palawan Irrigation Management Office; (Right) Chief Inspector Renante Anas of the IPPF. (Photos courtesy of the Sangguniang Panlungsod of Puerto Princesa)

Farmers from southern barangays in Puerto Princesa appealed on Tuesday to the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) to finalize their memorandum of agreement (MOA) on the repairs of the Kamuning-Inagawan dam and its canals supplying water to their areas.

Nearly 450-hectares of farmland rely on the water from the dam and the canals located within the Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF), according to City Councilor Elgin Damasco. He added that the irrigation and dam repairs were allocated a P10-million budget with the NIA, but have yet to be utilized due to the unfinalized MOA.

According to Inagawan barangay captain Roderick Cervancia, who represented southern barangay farmers to the City Council, said that the current irrigation system has fallen into disrepair and causing water shortage problems during the dry months.

“Nanghihingi kami ng tulong na sana magawan ng solusyon ang problema namin ngayon. Sa mga buwan ng January, February, humihina na ang daloy ng tubig sa dam dahil sa sira at butas-butas. Ang dam ng Inagawan-Kamuning Irrigators Association ay na-construct noong 1980’s pa. Kailangan na talagang ma-rehab na ‘yon upang mabawasan ang nasasayang na tubig,” said Cervancia.

NIA Institutional Development Officer Joel Carasig, who was also invited to the question hour, explained that the MOA is still waiting for the BuCor’s final approval on the MOA before they can start the repairs on the project.

“Sa ngayon ito ay nasa headquarters ng BuCor at inaantay na lang NIA ang pirma ng BuCor para maimplement na ang proyektong ito,” Carasig explained.

Likewise, IPPF Corrections Inspector and Inagawan Sub-colony Penal Supervisor Renante Anas said the there were delays in the MOA signing because there were some terms that the BuCor did not agree on. However, he said that these have since been resolved.

“Hinihintay pa rin namin ang authority in [aIPPF] Superintendent [Joel] Calvelo upang aksyunan ang pagpirma at pagpaloob sa MOA, kasi ang authority ay kailangan pang isalin ni [BuCor] Director [Gerald] Bantag. Noong nakita kasi namin ang MOA [noong una], may nakita kami na disadvantage sa amin, ‘yong kami pa ang magbabayad para sa tubig ng existing dam,” he explained.

The City Council likewise urged, through approved resolutions, BuCor Chief General Gerald Bantag to finalize the MOA with NIA so that the farmers no longer have to worry about water shortages in the dry months. Likewise, they also urged the Senate Committee on Agriculture and the Office of the President to intervene in fast-tracking the MOA.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.