The Maranding River Irrigation System located in the Province of Lanao del Norte was constructed by the National Irrigation Administration in 1974 and became fully operational in 1981. From an original service area of 4,900 hectares, an extension area of 354 hectares was later added during the operation phase to make the updated service area a total of 5,254 hectares with a firmed up area of 5,061 hectares. The Maranding RIS is serving 3,863 farmer beneficiaries, who are organized into six (6) Irrigators’ Associations and these were federated in October 1999 to become the Federation of Irrigators of Maranding River Irrigation System (FIMARIS).
From the moment water flowed into this Irrigation System, there was no turning back in the lives of the farmers who abundantly reaped the fruits of irrigation with rice production as their major source of livelihood. It has contributed much to the economic boom in the once sleepy towns of Lala and Kapatagan. Even the neighboring municipalities also savoured the benefits of economic progress. Big business establishments, which were present only in highly urbanized cities, have sprouted in the area. In fact, a shopping mall is now under construction in the Capital town of the Province.
Crucial to this success was the close coordination among the NIA Regional Office, the LAMISCA IMO and the Provincial Government of Lanao del Norte led by Governor Imelda Q. Dimaporo, Vice Governor Cristina N. Atay and the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. The active participation of the LGUs of Kapatagan and Lala through Mayor Barry Y. Baguio and Mayor Angel L. Yap, respectively, and the Irrigators’ Associations through their Federation President James Longcob also allowed Maranding RIS to reach greater heights, and gave the farmers high morale to produce more rice for food sufficiency. Indeed, this experience has molded highly viable and outstanding Irrigators’ Associations.
Despite this glorious beginning, the momentum was aborted last year when Typhoon Falcon brought flashfloods to the Province of Lanao del Norte in July 2019 with the ground zero at Maranding RIS. The rampaging flood waters overflowed the riverbanks damaging standing crops and irrigation facilities. Two (2) units of siphon were severely damaged and there was heavy siltation in the main and lateral canals which cut off the flow of irrigation water affecting 3,600 hectares of the service area. The damage was not immediately felt by the farmers since it was already in the mid of the cropping season for that year and intermittent rains took care of their ricefields.
Emergency meetings were called by the Provincial Government and attended by all stakeholders to come up with action plans for the immediate repair of the system. NIA presented the conceptual design which includes replacing the reinforced concrete barrel to steel pipes and provision of protection works while the Sangguniang Panlalawigan submitted a resolution to the NIA-Central Office for the release of funds from the Quick Response Funds (QRF) or funds from the General Appropriations Act. But pending the release of calamity funds, NIA realigned its activities in the amount of P24 million programmed for CY 2018 and 2019 to prioritize the repair of the two siphons and desilting activities.
The repair was implemented immediately to catch-up with the next cropping season but only one unit of siphon was completed to restore the area of 1,700 hectares out of the 3,600 hectares affected. Close supervision and meetings were conducted to assess the progress in the construction of the steel siphon. The LGU of Lala through Mayor Yap provided their equipment to augment the resources for the installation of the steel pipes. The contractor also committed to complete the repair works not later than April 15, 2020 amidst the declared General Community Quarantine due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
The NIA-LGU-IA tie up is again proven to be the most effective in governance in community development. The long wait is over as the test run was successfully conducted and the remaining 1,900 hectares can now be irrigated starting May 1, 2020, which is the official water delivery schedule for the second cropping. Maranding RIS is now back to fully operational. Acknowledgement is given to the Provinvial Government and Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Lanao del Norte, the LGUs of Lala and Kapatagan, NIA Technical and Institutional Staff from the Regional Office and LAMISCA IMO together with the Lanao del Norte Satelite Office and Maranding RIS and the strong Irrigators’ Association for a job well done.