By LITO RULONA
Landowners of the municipality of Baungon, Bukidnon province challenge the management of Metro Pacific Water Investments and the regional office of the National Irrigation Administration – 10 to widen the conduct of a consultation and not limit it to minority sector representatives.
Chito Soriano, a landowner and a farm grower dared Metropac and NIA-10 to conduct a public forum for the majority members of the Baungon residents and not only for a few interested persons.
“As I have stated during the forum initiated by NIA-10 and Metropac, they should have conducted a public consultation with the entire residents of Baungon as a whole not only for a few,” he said.
He said the irrigators association in “itself” does not constitute nor represent the majority.
“They should also consider those landowners who voluntarily gave the NIA the right of way para makaagi ang irrigation canal para makatabang ug maka benepisyo ang mga farmers sa Baungon dili ang pipila lang ka individual or corporation,” he added.
Soriano said if landowners who till the land did not allowed and donate parcels of land for the realization of NIA’s irrigation project in which its mandates is to help farmers to avail free water canals.
“A legal team is in the process of reviewing the existing contract between NIA and those landowners who donated a portion of their lot para makaagi ang NIA irrigation canal,” he explained.
He said the existence of such a contract is already an admission on the part of NIA that there are other parties and stakeholders that were part and parcel of the government’s irrigation project.
“Let’s just hope na NIA should take this into consideration before entering into a contract with any third party. During that forum, I have stated my personal position na we in Baungon are not obstructionist or anti-development,” he added.
Soriano said they welcome those investors wholeheartedly as long as these deals were done in good faith and due process was followed and that it was done “ Fair and Square.”
“The bottom line was Metropac is a conglomerate!”