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SWISA, Buhay na Buhay!

By Pett P. Ocampo - Information Officer
April 16, 2019

“We are proud to say that our SWISA (Small Water Irrigation System Association) Partners are very organized and hard-working.” Bureau of Soils and Water Management's Director Angel C. Enriquez CESO III, proudly stated during the SWISAs Cluster II Congress held at the Punta Villa Resort, Iloilo City on April 11 to 12, 2019.

SWISAs are the farmer-association beneficiaries of BSWM's Small Scale Irrigation Projects (SSIP) and it has been 8 years since the association was formally recognized. Since the 1980s there have been existing associations of farmers benefitting from BSWM's SSIPs but only in 2011 that a formal association was named. In 2012, a National Federation was formally organized and was named Small Water Irrigation System Association Federation of the Philippines and is duly recognized and registered in the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Since then, SWISAs have been a strong partner association of the Department of Agriculture in its projects and programs, as reported by Engr. Teresita S. Sandoval, Chief of the Water Resources Management Division (WRMD). Engr. Sandoval and her technical staff, through the years, teamworks and closely coordinates with the DAs-Regional Agricultural Engineering Dvision (RAED) in the survey, design and implementation of SSIPs nationwide.

SWISA Congresses have been conducted by the BSWM every year to empower its members, share ideas and experiences, open discussions, election of officers and help them address some issues they are facing. Part of the Congress is to bring them closer to more DA and other government projects and programs.

A total of 214-strong Men and Women SWISA Officers and Members convened in this yearly event through the leadership of Dir. Enriquez, organized by the WRMD. They are from Regions VI (128), VII (26) and VII (27); the Visayas Cluster, joined in by the MIMAROPA Regions from Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan (33). The DAs Regional Field Offices and the Local Government Units from the said Regions, who are also our partners, attended in this event.

Resource Speakers discussed the following topics: Mr. Elmer D. Gimay on Department of Labor and Employment's (DOLE) Livelihood Projects; Ms. Saerah Belle V. Veloso on Agricultural Credit and Policy Council's Credit Policies; Mr. Romeo Royandoyan on Republic Act 11203 The Rice Tarrification Law (farmers point of view); Ms. Thelma Padolina on Philippine Rice Research Institute's Suitable Rice Varieties; Ms. Glady Mae B. Mojica on the insurance programs of the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation; and Engr. Romar Areno on Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization's Service Providers and Farm Machineries for Distribution.

The Cluster II Congress was welcomed by Ms. Ramona Gonzaga from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for the Visayas and Mr. Manuel O. Olanday, the Regional Technical Director for Operations and Extension of DA-RFO VI, who both reiterated the importance of bringing food to the table.

As a closing message form Ms. Fe Rem Ninofranco, SWISA Federation President of Iloilo province, “to the BSWM, you are closest to the hearts of the are our life and you made our life easier”.

SWISA Buhay na Buhay! chant will continually reverberate in the years to come.

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