BARMM government has no authority over NIA properties – DOJ

Neil Jayson Servallos - The Philippine Star
BARMM government has no authority over NIA properties � DOJ
This file photo shows the executive building of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
via The STAR / John Unson

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) government cannot assume authority over all properties of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) situated in the region due to laws and jurisprudence, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

In a legal opinion written by Justice Undersecretary Nicholas Felix Ty, the DOJ said the BARMM may take control only of communal irrigation systems (CIS), which are “small-scale and constructed with the participation of the farmer-beneficiaries.”

The DOJ sent the legal opinion to Deputy Executive Secretary for general administration Naealla Aguinaldo.

The legal opinion addressed the failure of both the NIA and the BARMM’s intergovernmental relations body to resolve the conflict over the transfer of all properties and assets of the irrigation agency to the BARMM.

The NIA maintains that the properties that should be turned over to the BARMM are limited to CIS.

The BARMM insisted otherwise and wanted the NIA building in Cotabato City to be placed under its jurisdiction, citing provisions of the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

After reviewing applicable laws, the DOJ said that the BARMM’s authority over the irrigation system in the region extends only to CIS.

The DOJ said only properties and assets confined to CIS should be turned over to the Bangsamoro government.

The NIA will maintain and operate national irrigation systems, which are “large and medium schemes,” the DOJ said.

It said there was no agency created in the BARMM that performs functions similar to the NIA.

Even the BARMM’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform – the Department of Agriculture’s counterpart in the Bangsamoro government – does not perform NIA’s functions, the DOJ said.

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