Hingatungan IA: Working together towards success
Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. –Henry Ford.
The Hingatungan Irrigators’ Association, Inc. is the beneficiary of Hingatungan Communal Irrigation System (CIS) of Region 8. It is located in Brgy. Hingatungan, Silago, Southern, Leyte, one of the coastal barangays of the town. Silago can be reached by land as it is approximately 108 kilometers away from Tacloban City. It is surrounded by green mountains, scenic waterfalls and clean beaches with a structure designed by nature lying in the town’s deep blue sea known as Pelada Rock, locally known as “Batong Dako” with the abundance of birds, sea snakes, fish and other marine products surrounding it. Farming and fishing are their main source of income.
The Hingatungan IA
Irrigation Development of Hingatungan IA was slow but steady. It was organized in 1979 with only six (6) hardworking and determined farmers to cultivate their rainfed rice of about three (3) hectares. They built a brush dam along Bagakay River by piling stones, rocks and boulders. Through bayanihan or “Tagbo”, they manually dug an earth canal connecting to their brush dam going to their ricefields. Ten (10) years thereafter, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) constructed their communal irrigation system covering a total service area of 40 has. and had increased the number of farmers to 30 farmer beneficiaries. In 1998, it was rehabilitated under the Visayas Communal Irrigation Participatory Project of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program-Irrigation Component (CARP-IC) and was again rehabilitated in 2011, extending their irrigated area to 89 hectares benefitting a total of 136 farmer beneficiaries in six (6) sectors—112 males and 14 female members. They continually build and develop contours/terrace paddies, thus they attained 100% paddy development in 2013. The IA officers, headed by Virgelio T. Tosloc, closely supervise the implementation of O&M policies, such as, cropping calendar and pattern of planting (CCPP) and water delivery and distribution (WDD) plans. They are responsible also for monitoring to ensure the timely and sufficient delivery of irrigation water, particularly the downstream farmers which resulted to a 200% cropping intensity (CI).
Capability building activities given to the IA—Basic Leadership Development Course, Pre-Membership Education Seminar, Financial Management System, System Management Training, Strategic Planning & Policy Formulation and Gender Sensitivity Training, contributed to the integrity and confidence gained of its officers and members, which enable them to sustain their growing association. Consequently, their good practices, especially on record keeping, system management and participation on IA activities, groomed them to get the highest rating in the organizational maturity development assessment for four (4) consecutive years conducted by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Silago, Southern Leyte.
Women IA members were also supported by the IA which resulted to their innovative transformation. Women played a vital role in the success of the IA. They were provided pigs to start with the swine dispersal program. With this income generating project, they were able to raise funds of about P8,160.00 from a monthly contribution of P5.00 per member.
Responding to Environmental Concerns
Fully aware that barangay Hingatungan is one of the tsunami prone areas, the IA, in coordination with the Barangay Local Government Unit (BLGU) had a unified support by planting mangroves along coast and seashores. It will protect the community from soil erosion, salt water intrusion and buffer zone for storm surges and tsunamis and will serve as fish sanctuary that will support the fishing industry and livelihood of the people in the barangay. Also, the IA planted trees at the watershed of their irrigation water source—the Bagakay River, to prevent landslides at the dam perimeter and sustain irrigation water supply of their source.
The IA have also that innate concern to extend a helping hand to those in need. During the wrath of supertyphoon Yolanda on November 8, 2013, their IA office served as an evacuation center and temporary shelter to 53 evacuees covering twelve (12) households.
Ties with other agencies
Good practices of the IA entices other agencies to support them through technologies to further improve their production. The officers and members were participants of the Participatory Coconut Planting & Re-planting Project of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA). They were also given coconut seedlings and salt fertilizer for recovery and rehabilitation program.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) recognizes the IA as an active organization. Thus, the IA was given priority on their trainings and programs, such as:
1. Farm-inputs Loan Program – a fertilizer loan which is payable after harvest with no interest;
2. High Yielding Technology Adaptation – distribution of hybrid seeds;
3. Animal dispersal Program – swine and cattle dispersal;
4. Vegetable seeds distribution for backyard gardening;
5. Pumpboat distribution as fishing is their other source of income; and
6. Demo farming on rice production using organic fertilizer
In the joint effort of the NIA, DAR, Japan International Cooperating Agency (JICA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Provincial and Local Government Unit of Southern Leyte, Municipal Local Government Unit (MLGU) of Silago and Barangay Local Government Unit (BLGU) of Hingatungan, the Hingatungan IA was chosen as one of the beneficiaries of the Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Project III (ARISP III)—constructed irrigation facilities and established farm-to-market road. They were also given solar dryer and post harvest facilities. The DAR also conducted capability-building activities which tend to hone the farmer beneficiaries.
It is noteworthy to mention that the IA was successful in mobilizing and accessing assistance from non-government organizations being victims of supertyphoon Yolanda. The IA was recipient of the mechanical dryer, and farm equipment amounting to P500,000.00.
All of these assistance given to the IA were utilized and resulted to the increased rice production, from three (3) metric tons per hectare to an average yield of six (6) metric tons per hectare in every cropping season. Hence, Hingatungan IA serves as the model farm to their neighboring farmers. The IA is also an enterprising and efficient in the use of its resources. They have ventured into credit to members; sale of farm inputs; rental of farm machineries and had earned considerable income from fines and penalties since policies are well implemented and enforced. Thus, it greatly improved their financial operation.
Hingatungan IA is a product of NIA-IA partnership with the full support of CARP and other agencies. This is evident with their various achievements and awards received since 2008 until present. In fact, the IA was evaluated by the CARP-IC, headed by Engr. Delsy J. Revellame, and recognized it as 2nd runner-up for Most Outstanding IA in two (2) consecutive years—2015 and 2016. Aside from upholding the title this year, the IA was also handed an award as 7th Most Outstanding IA for CIS category at National Level. Through these awards, the IA was recognized by other agencies. Hence, they prioritize the IA in their projects and programs.
The IA’s success is also evident in their families. They can now send their children to school and provide their basic needs.
The ratio of We’s to I’s is the best indicator of the development of a team. – Lewis B. Ergen
Oneness within the association is considered indispensable in the IA’s quest for sustaining their strong and active IA and attaining better quality of life among members. Also, the full support of different agencies, especially the grant of ARISP III, driven the success of Hingatungan IA.