Free irrigation service
fee implements by '17
TAGBILARAN CITY, July 19 (PIA)--No, not yet.
Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Manny Piñol reminds farmers all too eager to be unburdened by the yoke of irrigation service fees (ISF), not this year yet.
An ISF is charged by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) from its beneficiaries in national systems as payment for services rendered in the delivery of water to fund the operations and management of national irrigation systems.
In an interview over DZRH last June 29, 2016, Sec. Piñol called on farmers availing of the irrigation services that the government targets the free irrigation services by 2017 yet.
Sec Piñol said if farmers default from paying the ISF this year, it could send the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) into break-down.
“Ako po’y nananawagan sa ating mga magsasaka na ngayong taon po na ito tapusin muna natin ung pagbabayad sa irrigation fees sapagkat kapag hindi kayo nagbayad ngayong taong ito maaaberya po yung NIA natin."
"I am calling our farmers, this year would be the last, we have to pay for the ISF this year, because if we do not do that, NIA would have problems."
Piñol begged for understanding saying further that the collected ISF gets to pay for NIA officials and employees.
Earlier on, at the campaign trail, then candidate Rodrigo Duterte promised to scrap the ISF, arguing that this runs counter to the national goal of food sufficiency.
On this, Piñol begged, "Isa lang po ang gusto kong maintindihan ng ating mga magsasaka, kapag si Duterte ang nangako, matutupad yan."
"There is only one thing i wish our farmers would understand, when Duterte promises, he would make it happen."
But, first, he stressed that it has to go through the right process, and could be hastily done as it could lead NIA into bankruptcy.
He also informed farmers that a government technical working group is presently working on the process, by looking at which laws need to be amended, and which should be crafted to empower the NIA to support the President's commitment for free irrigation.
The NIA has in its mandate, the collection of ISF to sustain its operations.
Through Presidential Decree 1702, the NIA is authorized to collect ISF, administration charges, drainage fees, equipment rentals, proceeds of sales of unserviceable equipment and materials, sales of all reparation goods allocated o the defunct irrigation service units and other incomes, as added to its operating capital.
Without any repeal of the law, NIA would be liable for failure to collect.