NOTE: This story was first published in The Bohol Chronicle’s Sunday print edition.
The provincial government launched a cash-for-work program which offers alternative income for farmers and individuals who lost their jobs because of the pandemic.
The cash-for-work program implemented through the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist reeled off May 4.
On May 6, Gov. Art Yap visited farm communities and beneficiaries in barangays Jimilian and Gotozon in Loboc, and barangays Yanaya and Bugang Sur in Bilar, barangay Guadalupe in Carmen, barangay Bugsoc in Sierra-Bullones; and beneficiaries in Batuan who gathered at the municipal hall compound.
The following day, Yap visited other farmers who are participating in the cash-for-work program- -those in the towns of Lila, Dimiao, and Valencia. In barangay Lomanoy, Lila, the farmers are removing silt from canal waterways.
The canal in Lomanoy gets water flowing from Catugasan Communal Irrigation System. The entire CIS serves 35 hectares spanning from Catugasan, to Lomanoy, and to Tiguis.
In Dimiao, the farmers are clearing and grubbing along irrigation canals of Korimo CIS which is serving 19.5 hectares.
In Valencia, Yap checked SimangBalingasaw CIS which is serving 120 hectares and Monia CIS which is serving 172 hectares.
Among the early beneficiaries are farmers who belong to 38 irrigators’ associations spread in 29 towns—the towns of Alicia, Antequera, Anda, Balilihan, Batuan, Bilar, Buenavista, Candijay, Sierra-Bullones, Talibon, Trinidad, Valencia, Carmen, Dagohoy, Dimiao, Duero, Garcia-Hernandez, Guindulman, Getafe, Inabanga, Jagna, Lila, Loboc, Maribojoc, Mabini, Pilar, Sagbayan, San Isidro, and San Miguel.
This will be expanded to cover 50 CIS across the province, intending to employ 500 workers—each working for 10 days.
However, the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist calculated that the program can benefit about 3,500 people.
Batch 1 started on May 4 and would complete the work on May 14.
Batch 2 will start work on May 18, covering the towns of Albur, Calape, Tubigon, Loay, Ubay, Clarin, Guindulman, and Duero.
The program is implemented in the provincewide communal irrigation system (CIS).
The provincial government allocated P2 million from the calamity fund 2019, through the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), for the project.
Priority beneficiaries under the program are the workers who lost their jobs because of the pandemic which prevention of spread requires stoppage of operation of some non-essential establishments.
The beneficiaries would do the clearing and grubbing along irrigation canals, restoration of canal embankment, back-filing and shaping up of canal section, brushing of main and lateral canals, and desiltation or removing of silt from canal waterways.
One communal irrigation system covers 400 meters of irrigation canals and each round will be completed in 10 days where each worker will ideally receive P400 per day.
For irrigators’ association members, they will divide among themselves the P40,000 allocation per site.
The cash-for-work program for the provincewide CIS, which will be implemented in 100 days, is intended to rehabilitate existing irrigation systems, canals and channels of dams in the province, according to Provincial Agriculturist Larry Pamugas.
This will help farmers prepare the irrigation facilities for the coming wet cropping season this year, he added.
The program will also aid the displaced workers owing to the pandemic.
It will also address siltation of irrigation canals and channels, provide cash for families who will help in rehabilitating irrigation systems, and improve the carrying capacity of irrigation canals and channels through removal of blockage in its path.
With good irrigation facilities, farmers can achieve higher rate of food self-sufficiency for the province, Pamugas said.
In the program, farming families who are residing proximate to CIS are given preference.