Communities living in the far-flung area of Calinog are now benefitting from the newly constructed infrastructure projects funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) amounting to Php 63, 480, 727. 09 as the turn-over ceremony was conducted on April 25, 2023 at Brgy. Caratagan, Calinog, Iloilo.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 6 through its Forestland Management Project (FMP) under the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) Iloilo led the turn-over ceremony of the six (6) Agroforestry Support Facilities (ASF) to the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Calinog, namely:

Marandig Hanging Bridge – Php 8, 499, 178.02

Aglonok Hanging Bridge –Php 6, 642, 379.66

Supanga Hanging Bridge – Php 5, 565, 399.35

Marandig Irrigation Pipeline System –Php 7, 648, 285.39

Caratagan-Marandig Pathway –Php 24, 070, 072.95

Caratagan Irrigation Pipeline System –Php 11, 055, 411.72

Forester Marlon Atienza, FMP Project Manager encouraged the communities to maintain the so-called ‘investments’ and gave his appreciation to FMP 6 in accomplishing these projects. He also mentioned that the FMP projects will end this 2023 and requested the LGU to continue the protection and maintenance of the projects funded by JICA.

“With the help of our international partners, we now made possible what we once called impossible. These bridges, roads and irrigation pipeline system have provided you with access to the municipal proper, to education, and to everything,” Regional Director Livino B. Duran said.

ASF is one of the components of the Forestland Management Project which started its implementation in 2012. The municipality of Calinog got thirteen (13) of the ASFs out of thirty-two (32) and are distributed among its upland barangays. The rest are in the municipalities of Janiuay with thirteen (13) ASF and Lambunao with six (6) ASF.

Former Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Sr. together with the former DENR 6 Regional Director and former Iloilo PENR Officer were the signatories to the Agreement, which is now considered a living legacy of collaboration.

“This is now the living legacy of collaboration of the DENR, Local Government Units in the province, municipal, and the barangay. We only wish one thing –and that is to bring the JICA representatives here in Calinog for them to see the infrastructure they supported and for them to see how important there projects are to the upland community,” ARD Lorilla said.

The turn-over ceremony was graced by Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor, Jr., Congressman -3rd District of Iloilo Lorenz Defensor, Calinog Municipal Mayor Francisco Calvo, Calinog Vice Mayor Andrew Gustillo, DENR 6 Assistant Regional Director (ARD) for Technical Services Raul L. Lorilla, ARD for Special Concerns Ivene D. Reyes, FMP Project Manager Marlon Atienza, Iloilo PENR Officer Salvador C. Manglinong, Jr., together with the representatives from the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP), Philippine Army, Philippine National Police (PNP), National Irrigation Authority (NIA).

Also in attendance were FMP Region 6 Provincial Focal Person Forester Antonio Latoza, Jr., People’s Organization (POs) beneficiaries, FMP Site Management Officers and staff, members of Janiuay SB Council, and DENR 6 personnel from the regional office, PENRO and CENRO.