The Philippines through the National Irrigation Administration as a forefront of this remarkable event hosted the conduct of the 14th International Network for Water and Ecosystem in Paddy Fields (INWEPF) Symposium and Steering Committee Meeting at the Quest Hotel, Clark Economic Zone, Angeles City on November 20 – 25, 2017, with its theme: “Strengthening Global Partnership for Sustainable and Climate-Resilient Irrigation and Drainage Systems in Paddy Fields” was participated by 14 Asian countries and attended by more than 200 delegates.
The INWEPF was first conducted in Japan on 2004 and was established to provide a forum to realize the three challenges by promoting dialogue, exchanging knowledge and experience, creating synergy among existing forums and strengthening capacity building in agricultural water management in paddy fields with due consideration for environmental aspects.
The MISSION of the INWEPF is to realize three challenges: “Food Security and Poverty Alleviation”, Sustainable Water Use”, and “Partnership” by promoting good practices of water management in paddy fields with due consideration and sustenance of rice-based ecosystems by cooperating with all stakeholders.
Its VISION is to provide an open platform for promoting dialogue, exchanging information and experiences, creating synergy among existing forums, strengthening capacity building, developing good practices and formulating ideas for innovative policy and management options in the field of sustainable paddy water use, conservation of environment and better governance.
The event was graced with the presence of the Cabinet Secretary of the Philippines LeoncioBadillaEvasco Jr. carrying in his speech the marching order of the President of the Republic of the Philippines Rodrigo RoaDuterte, “Poverty should be eradicated”. An order which was operationalized in the signing of Executive Order No. 1 in 2016 placing several government agencies under the Office of the Cabinet Secretary to oversee their mandates and functions in forming policies and coming up with set of programs to reduce both the incidence and magnitude of poverty in the country.
In his keynote speech, the NIA Administrator GEN RICARDO R VISAYA (Ret) point by point explained how the global partnership will address the sustainability of paddy fields in the Philippines which is challenged by many factors, among them are, utilization of water is becoming scarce, dwindling watershed, industrialization specially land conversion from agricultural to various land use, increasing population, ageing farmers population, low interest of young generation in farming and climate change.
On the part of NIA, the administrator said that among to the resolutions are inclusion in the design of irrigation projects, climate-resilient irrigation structures as interventions to lessen the impact of climate change to our paddy fields such as concreting of irrigation canals, using of close conduits (HDPE) to lessen seepage of water, using coconet as slope protections, putting control structures and steel gates to regulate water release, construction of impounding dams and drainage structures, construction of reused structure to collect excess water from paddy fields to augment water supply downstream, and continuous repair and rehabilitation of existing irrigation facilities. Likewise the continuous yearly conduct of tree planting in NIA watersheds.
The NIA region 3, as one of the key office assigned in the preparations for the conduct of the event exerted its effort to assure its success. The men and women of the region worked hand in hand day and night to provide all the necessities for the conduct of the INWEPF.
Even during the 5 day conduct of the event, the management and staff of the NIA Region 3 remained persistent in attending and addressing the needs of the participants not only international but likewise locals. Starting with ushering and welcoming of delegates from the airport up to period of departure. From the daybreak till dawn and even in the midnight, NIA region 3 staff dedicatedly served and worked so hard in order to see that at the end of the day, the event was conducted successfully.
Kudos to the untiring manager JOSEPHINE B. SALAZAR for pioneering the successful conduct of the 14th INWEPF Symposium and Steering Committee Meeting in the Philippines. You deserved a SALUTE.
by Eliseo V. Bitangcol