Monday, May 12, 2014
CABANATUAN CITY, Nueva Ecija–A close relative of former Pampanga congressman Carmelo Lazatin has been elected new president of the 86,000-strong farmers’ and irrigators’ group of the Upper Pampanga River Integrated Irrigation System of the National Irrigation Administration.
Dante Lazatin won by a hairline over Jaime Laysa Sr., 8-7 to become the new head of the UPRIIS’ Confederation of Farmers’ Irrigators’ Association (UCFIA) during its 12th election of officers at the UPRIIS conference room here Friday.
Lazatin will serve up to 2016, replacing Marcelo de Vera. Lazatin and de Vera fought for the presidency in 2012 which ended in a tie. Lazatin gave way to de Vera.
Voters cast their vote through secret balloting in elections administered by the UCFIA Commission on Elections led by its chairman Armando Batongbakal and vice chairman was Juanito Adriano. Among its members were Danilo Miranda, Danilo Boles, Cesario Miranda and Florencio Llanes.
Laysa was later elected vice president. Also elected were Danilo Miranda (treasurer) and Ben Gagelonia.
Appointed were Danilo Salavador (secretary), Cesario Miranda (sergeant-at-arms), Rodrigo Jimenez, Pacifico Antalan, Danilo Bolos, Batongbakal and Llanes.
Later, the new set of officers took their oath before UPRIIS operations manager Josie B. Salazar.
Salazar, in her speech, cited the role played by the UCFIA in the delivery of irrigation water in the service areas of UPRIIS. She said the group helped UPRIIS attain a 75% collection efficiency when it comes to collecting irrigation services fees (ISFs) from farmers.
She assured that UPRIIS would always support the UCFIA in its various endeavors. “Remember that we have a blood compact walang iwanan,” she said.
Lazatin for his part, said UCFIA will always be a partner of UPRIIS and NIA, adding without them, their group will never exist.
A relative of Lazatin, Dante, 49, is a farmer, flight mechanic and Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) all rolled into one. He was a graduate of aeronautics engineering at the Angeles University Foundation and once worked as flight mechanic of the Philippine Air Lines (PAL).
He later migrated to Barangay Nagpandayan, Guimba, Nueva Ecija where he tills a 10-hectare farm.
UPRIIS is the country’s largest NIS. It is the operator of the giant Pantabangan Dam which irrigates over 100,000 hectares of farmlands in Central Luzon.
The UCFIA is composed of 370 irrigators’ associations with 86,000 farmers ad irrigators as members. (Manny Galvez)
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